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Former Washington State, Washington women’s basketball coach June Daugherty dies at 64

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 4, 2021

Washington State coach June Daugherty calls to her team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament, Thursday, March 2, 2017, in Seattle. Washington State won 79-78.  (Associated Press)
Washington State coach June Daugherty calls to her team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament, Thursday, March 2, 2017, in Seattle. Washington State won 79-78. (Associated Press)

June Daugherty, a longtime college women’s basketball coach in the Pacific Northwest who spent 22 years of her career directing the programs at Washington and Washington State, died Monday at the age of 64, The Spokesman-Review learned Wednesday.

Daugherty, who suffered from heart complications throughout her coaching career, was living at her home in Boise at the time of her death .

For the better part of three decades, Daugherty was a women’s basketball fixture in the Northwest, spending time as a head coach at Boise State (1989-96), Washington (1996-2007) and WSU (2007-18).

Daugherty amassed a career win/loss record of 443-441 and went to the NCAA Tournament eight times.

During Daugherty’s 11th and final season with the Cougars, she took a medical leave of absence in January and never returned to the team’s bench.

Not long after the school announced Daugherty wouldn’t return for the 2018-19 basketball season, WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun clarified his weekly radio show, “Cougs in 60,” that the coach’s departure was related to performance and not a response to her ongoing health complications.

While Daugherty was on sabbatical, her husband Mike, WSU’s longtime associate head coach, took over interim coaching duties. Mike Daugherty was also the associate head coach at UW and Boise State during his wife’s coaching tenure at both schools.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Mike Daugherty labeled his wife as the “GOAT,” an acronym used to describe the “greatest of all time” and said “the world is a lesser place starting on Tuesday.”

“She was the GOAT because of the way she treated everyone,” Mike Daugherty wrote. “Those who knew her know how special and spectacular she was. She was the greatest mother, lover and friend. She cared for her family, my mother, her friends, my family, her players, and all who came into contact with her no matter how they treated her. She had zero intolerance except for those who were hateful and intolerant.

“I would like to thank all of you who have been in contact with me for your kind words and support. The world is a different place for me now. If you know Doc and Breanne, please reach out to them. They are great caring people like their mother and this is a especially difficult time for them. I think it helps for them to know how many people their mother touched over the years. Love you all, Mike.”

In a letter printed in The Spokesman-Review following her retirement, Daugherty wrote “my health is improving and I am getting stronger every day. I thank you for the prayers, well-wishes and kindness that so many of you have taken the time to send my way.”

In Daugherty’s 11 years at WSU, the Cougars went 130-217 overall and 56-141 in Pac-12/10 Conference play.

Although Dougherty never brought WSU back to the NCAA Tournament, she ended a run of 17 consecutive losing seasons by going 17-17 in 2013-14 and had her first winning season one year later, going 17-15.

The Cougars went to the postseason three times under Daugherty, advancing as far as the semifinal round of the WNIT in 2016-17 with players such as Borislava Hristova and Chanelle Molina.

Daugherty’s tenure at WSU came after a successful 11-year stint on the other side of the state, where she compiled a record of 191-139 with the Huskies and went 113-85 in Pac-12/10 play, earning nine postseason berths with seven trips to the NCAA Tournament and one Elite Eight appearance in 2000-01.

Between Daugherty’s stints at UW and WSU, she collapsed after suffering a heart attack, according to KIRO-TV, and a spokesperson from Providence Everett Medical Center confirmed to the Associated Press she was in critical condition.

Daugherty earned her first head coaching job in 1989 at BSU, leading the Broncos to five winning seasons, an overall record of 122-75 and one appearance in the NCAA Tournament, at the end the 1993-94 season. The Columbus, Ohio, native was an assistant coach at Kent State (1983-85) and Stanford (1985-89) after her playing career at Ohio State finished in 1978.

Daugherty is survived by her husband, Mike, her two children, Doc and Breanne, along with her parents.

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