Champion mentor: EH’s Doud steps down as girls basketball coach


CHARLOTTESVILLE — It was always about the entire group, not her, when it came to Shari Doud’s basketball teams.

One of the state’s winningest girls basketball coaches made her 20th season — 11 of which were at Pendleton Heights — her final one as a head coach.

In late March, a couple of weeks after her Eastern Hancock team made a run to the Class 2A Final Four, Doud resigned her position, one she has had the last eight seasons as head coach of the Royals. She will remain in the school system as a sixth grade Social Studies teacher.

“Memories made, relationships formed and some wins along the way,” Doud said. “I take a lot of pride as I walk away in what my staff and I accomplished with two decades of great kids to work with.”

There were more than just a few wins for Doud’s teams.

In 19 of 20 seasons, Doud’s team finished with a winning record. In most of those years they had twice as many wins as losses. She only had double-figure losses four times.

The last two at Eastern Hancock were the winningest seasons in program history. The 2023 team went 23-4. This past season was the best in school history, winning a second straight regional championship, reaching the Class 2A Final Four and going 25-2.

Six of Doud’s teams won 20 or more games. She won three sectionals and a regional in her run at Pendleton Heights. Her first year as a head coach was in 2001 at Greenfield-Central. Her lone year there the Cougars went 13-8. Her coaching career started at Mt. Vernon, where she coached middle school and freshman teams and was a varsity assistant.

“It’s always what ‘we’ accomplished,” Doud added, deflecting personal credit and giving it to her assistants and the players. “The biggest thing about getting kids to want to win every year, night-in and night-out, is their will to work hard for you, as a coach. I always felt we did a good job of getting kids wanting to play hard and buying into what we wanted to do.

“It’s not really been about the X’s and O’s throughout the years. It’s more about connecting with the kids and developing a chemistry that will put the girls on the floor that want to tear people up night-in and night-out. As a coach you have to build that bridge between the coach and the players. I think I was able to keep that bridge built between myself, my staff and players. That’s a huge part of success. You can have talent, coaches can have talent, but if you’re missing that piece, it’s a struggle to be successful.”

Doud’s teams won 69 percent of their games. She finished her career as a high school varsity head coach with a win-loss record of 336-147.

She’s the winningest coach, percentage-wise, at both Pendleton Heights (186-78, 70.5 percent) and Eastern Hancock (137-61, 69.1 percent). Her teams were 38-19 in the postseason, with five sectionals, three regionals and two Final 4 appearances (one each at Pendleton Heights and Eastern Hancock). Her teams won seven conference titles.

At Pendleton Heights, her Arabians won five Madison County titles. She was an Indiana All-Star assistant coach in 2009 and was the head coach of the South All-Stars in the 2006 Indiana North/South All-Star game.

For Doud, coaching has been a family business.

Her father, Ed Clark, has been alongside as an assistant for all 20 of her seasons as a head coach and also helped out when she was coaching junior high and freshman teams at Mt. Vernon. Her husband, Steve Doud, has also been assistant for many of her teams.

“(My dad has been) by my side on the bench all 20 years, and when I was coaching seventh/eighth grade ball for Jimmie Howell (at Mt. Vernon),” Doud said. “(I will) be able to spend time with him outside of basketball. There are a lot of things we like to do outside of basketball. I’m looking forward to spending a lot more quality time in a different setting at this point in my life with him.

“Steve is a behind the scenes guy. He does not want any spotlight on him and is the most humble individual I will ever meet,” Doud added about her husband. “His influences on what I’ve done on the philosophical and strategic side, he’s phenomenal. (You’re) racking your brain how to approach a team, and I always had the luxury to go home and be able to sit in the living room and look at my spouse and have someone with so much knowledge of the game. It’s been a team effort. It’s nothing I have done alone. It’s always been a team effort.”

Doud said she knew in the last two or three years that she was getting closer to hanging up the coach’s whistle.

She really wanted to see through this year’s strong senior class of Sammie Bolding, Makenzie O’Neal, Sydney Springman, Ruby White and Brooklyn Willis.

Along with being top players on the court, all five are straight-A students in the classroom.

“I told my girls in the (resignation) meeting, It’s not that I’m leaving a team behind that won’t succeed,” Doud said. “They’re going to win a lot of games moving forward. It’s a matter of a goal I had when the current seniors were in sixth grade. I had them in sixth grade and I knew their personality, their competitiveness and spirit, everything about them I fell in love with. I told myself then if I stay healthy enough and energized enough, I wanted to see them through. Lo and behold we got there and it just so happened we ended with a Final Four run. It was scripted beautifully.

“(It has been a) really special eight years and I can say that for both decades. I was blessed at Pendleton Heights, just like I was at Eastern Hancock.”

Doud wanted to give thanks to her mentors of the game; her father, who introduced her to the game, coached her travel teams and has been by her side the entire journey; her high school coach, Tom Earlywine (at Mt. Vernon) and her college coach Susan Yow (at Drake); and those that took a chance on hiring someone that was brand new to the coaching ranks, Jimmie Howell (at Mt. Vernon), Becky Freeman (at Greenfield-Central), and the late John Broughton (at Pendleton Heights); as well as a big thanks to her husband Steve, who she said, “has given more to me in knowledge as a basketball coach than any other person in my basketball world.”

Doud may have finished her successful run at Eastern Hancock, but she plans on following the team’s upcoming season. She said she doesn’t plan on missing a game, watching either in person or on the livestream.

“I’ve had eight seasons of great kids to work with,” she said. “The last two or three seasons has been a dream for a coach to work with kids that would go through a wall with you. They’ve been so easy to work with on and off the floor.

“(When I) walked away (from the meeting with the team) and headed back down the hall toward my classroom my heartstrings were pulling a little bit, but it was a happy feeling of what these girls accomplished and what they will continue to accomplish.”

Doud still has one final game to coach. She is adding to her list of coaching postseason all-star teams. She will be one of the coaches for the Hoosier Gym All-Star Classic to be played at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown on April 27.

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