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Jim "Red Dog" Dougherty

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Jim “Red Dog” Dougherty was from Bellevue, Kentucky, played halfback on the Bellevue Tigers football team, and was a member of the Class of 1942. He was older brother to Bob Dougherty, who had quite an impressive football career himself, breaking all of Red Dog’s records at Bellevue, and breaking 6 school records in his freshman year at UC. Bob finished his college football career at UK after having it interrupted by the Korean War draft, and he went on to play NFL football for the Rams, Raiders and Steelers.
Red Dog’s college football career began at Miami University in Oxford, OH where he was the leading scorer in all collegiate football within the state of Ohio during his freshman season in 1943. His freshman year earned him attention from the professional ranks, and he took a year off from college football after being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and then immediately being sold to the Lions. Dougherty attended pre-season camp in Detroit, but would decline his contract, opting to return back and finish out college at the University of Cincinnati.

Dougherty lettered at UC in 1946, 1947, and 1948, playing halfback/slotback for the Bearcats. He averaged at least 5 yards per carry in his first three years of college football, but was held to an average of 3.0 yards – on the nose – as a senior at UC once their opponents all seemed to realize that they HAD to key their defensive schemes around covering Red.

His first job coaching was at Newport Catholic High School in the 1949 season, and the following year he took a job at Harrison High School in Ohio, becoming head basketball and track coach, and joining the assistant football coaching staff. Dougherty took over as Harrison’s head football coach after three years, and then eventually moved on to Woodward High School for the 1958 season. In 1959 he led the Woodward Bulldogs to their first title in the Cincinnati Public High School League in their 40 year program history. Red Dog departed Woodward following the 1961 season for Mansfield High School in Mansfield, OH.

He returned to Cincinnati to join Coach Eddie Biles’ coaching staff at Xavier University beginning in the 1965 season, and used his experience there to earn the head coaching job of the prominent Colerain High School football team in 1969 after Colerain's program had struggled for a handful of years; he replaced head coach Vince Mercure, who had previously served as an assistant coach under Dougherty at Harrison High School. Keeping on the move, Red Dog headed back across the river to Kentucky in 1974, taking over the Lloyd Memorial football program, and propelling the Juggernauts to a AAA State Championship title in 1976. Dougherty’s last head coaching stop was at Simon Kenton, where he was the ‘Neers skipper for the 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986 seasons. Red’s 47 year coaching career finished at Highlands high school, where Dougherty served as a defensive assistant, and for his final three seasons as the co-defensive coordinator.

Red Dog was known for being energetic, a fiery motivator, straightforward, intense, and doggedly committed to whatever cause he served. He was absolutely beloved among his players and colleagues at Lloyd Memorial and Highlands. Dougherty’s last year was spent in poor health, although he rarely let on to anyone around him; he died a week after his diagnosis with liver cancer during the 1996 football season. When asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer about the circumstances surrounding the Highlands football game against Conner High School on the day Red had died, Highlands coach Dale Mueller said, “When his own father died, [Red Dog] and his brother both had football games to play, and they did. He wanted us to play.”

Ironically, Dougherty had already been scheduled to miss Highlands’ game the day of his death in order to attend the 20th Anniversary celebration for his football state championship at Lloyd Memorial.

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