The transition from two-time NJCAA National Champion head coach to successful 4-year coach didn’t take long for Graceland University Head Coach Craig Doty. In 2016-17, the Craig Doty era of Graceland men’s basketball started out in record fashion as Doty led the Yellowjackets to their first NAIA Division I national ranking in program history. When it was said and done, Doty’s first year also saw the program win 16 conference games, post a 20 win season, and earn their way to the conference semifinals of the Heart of America Tournament. Graceland was either nationally ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Division I national poll from December 6th, 2016 through February 14th, 2017.
Graceland’s 20-12 overall record and 16-10 Heart of America record featured many big wins. Graceland would go 2-0 vs. Mid America Nazarene a program who GU had previously lost 20 of their last 21 against dating back to 2008. The Yellowjackets would also sweep Central Methodist, Missouri Valley, Peru State, Avila and Culver-Stockton and defeat ranked opponents Grand View and Benedictine, the latter which was on the road in the quarterfinals of the Heart of America Conference tournament.
Upon being hired Doty not only added quality recruits but he maximized the group of student-athletes he inherited. Jeremy Deemer improved his 4.1 PPG and 2.9 RPG averages from the previous season to 12.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG under Doty while earning honorable mention All-American honors and First team All-Heart Conference. Reggie Williams improved from 8.9 PPG and 2.4 RPG to 11.6 PPG and 5.0 RPG and Carl Martin would go on to earn honorable mention All-Heart Conference by improving his scoring from 7.7 PPG the previous season to 11.2 PPG. Doty brought in NJCAA National Player of the Year LT Davis who led Graceland in scoring (12.9 PPG) as well as Frank Cimino who would average 10.4 PPG, earn honorable mention All-Heart Conference, win Heart Player of the Week after scoring 35 points against Ottawa and hit the game-winning shot on the road at NCAA Division II William Jewell College.
Prior to GU, Doty spent four years as the head men's basketball coach at Rock Valley College where he built a national powerhouse. In 2012, when Doty took over the program, Rock Valley was ranked last in Region IV preseason poll. Over the next four years, Doty would put Rock Valley College on the national map leading the Golden Eagles to four consecutive national tournaments including three straight national title games. Rock Valley was crowed National Champions in 2014 and in 2016, the first and second national championships in the 50 year program history.
Doty compiled a 113-28 record (.801) at Rock Valley. Doty's program shattered the school record for wins in 2013-14 posting a 30-5 record while re-breaking that record the next two seasons going 31-4 and 33-3, respectively. Doty led the Golden Eagles to the #1 ranking in the country for the first time in program history on October 27th, 2014. RVC has held on to the #1 ranking for each of the past two years which includes 24 consecutive national polls. When the next poll is released in October of 2016, RVC will have been ranked #1 in the country for 729 consecutive days.
Doty has twice been recognized as the Spalding NJCAA Division III National Coach of the Year (2014, 2016) and the NJCAA Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year (2014, 2016). In both 2014 and 2016 he was named the Gary S. Cole Coach of the National Tournament after leading RVC to National Championships in each of those seasons. Doty has been honored with the following awards for an unprecedented four times each (in four seasons): the Don Klaas Region IV Coach of the Year, the NJCAA District 2 Coach of the Year and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. In 2014 and 2016, Doty was selected to coach the NJCAA All-Star game in Las Vegas, NV. Additionally, both the NABC and HoopDirt.com named Doty the national coach of the year in 2016 for all levels of junior college basketball.
In 2015-16, the Golden Eagles started off the season #1 in the national polls and ended the season as National Champions. En route to their National Title, RVC won their six post-season games by an average margin of victory of 21.3 points per game. For a third straight season, Rock Valley broke the single-season record for victories, posting a 33-3 record. Road wins for Rock Valley over NJCAA D1 national powerhouses Vincennes University (ranked #6 at the time) and Indian Hills Community College (ranked #7) were two of the biggest upset wins in NJCAA history. RVC won the Region IV tournament for the fourth consecutive season. Doty coached 1st team All-American and National Player of the Year LT Davis as well as 2nd team All-American big man Elijah Williams.
In 2014-15, Doty's Golden Eagles had a target on their back all season. As defending National Champions with a #1 national ranking and playing one of the toughest schedules in all of NJCAA (including playing 16 NJCAA D1/D2 opponents) RVC stepped up to the challenge. The Golden Eagles won the Region IV Championship, won the N4C Conference with a 13-1 conference record and went 13-3 vs. scholarship opponents while not losing to an NJCAA Division III opponent until the national championship game where they fell 67-64 to Richland College (Dallas, TX). Doty coached Jared Mayes who was awarded 1st team All-American for the second consecutive season.
In 2013-14, Doty's second season at RVC and his first recruiting class at the school, he led the Golden Eagles to a 30-5 record and the NJCAA Division III National Championship. This was the Golden Eagles first national championship in program history. Along the way, RVC won their second consecutive Region IV Championship. Doty coached Jared Mayes who was named National Player of the Year and 1st team All-American.
In 2012-13, his first season on the sidelines at RVC, Doty wasted little time establishing the program on a national level. Picked to finish last in the Region IV pre-season poll, the Golden Eagles consistently improved throughout the season and stormed to a Region IV championship. RVC finished with a 19-16 record and ended the season receiving votes in the national polls. The Region IV championship was only the second in program history which clinched their second bid to the NJCAA national tournament appearance since the program started in 1965. RVC finished seventh at the NJCAA DIII national tournament which tied the 2000-01 team's finish for best in school history at the time. Doty coached 2nd team All-American Brandon Schwebke.
Prior to his arrival at Rock Valley College, Doty served as an Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at University of Sioux Falls (NCAA Division II) in South Dakota. In 2011-12, Doty was an Assistant Men's Basketball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Riverland Community College (NJCAA Division III) in Minnesota.
Prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. Doty was hired by Jamie Stevens as his full-time Assistant Men's Basketball Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at Central Wyoming College (NJCAA Division I). Following the season, Doty served as Interim Head Men's Basketball Coach for two months at CWC. Doty received nine commitments and recruited a roster that would go on to achieve a 20-11 record the following season.
A native of Alcester, South Dakota, Doty came to Central Wyoming after serving as a volunteer Assistant Coach at his Alma Mater Morningside College (NAIA Division II) in Sioux City, Iowa. During Doty's tenure with the program as a player and a coach, the Mustangs had a 56-37 record, made the Sweet Sixteen of the NAIA DII National Tournament, held a National Ranking of #10 in the country, and won a Great Plains Athletic Conference title.
Doty is a graduate of Alcester-Hudson High School. In his senior season, Doty set the school record for points per game in a season with an average of 25.5. His junior season, Doty led his squad to a 17-4 record and a number four ranking in the state of South Dakota.
Doty has a "family first," approach. Not only is his seven-year old son Braylon a frequent visitor to the men's basketball offices but you will nearly always see him at every game. Doty treats his student-athletes like his family by challenging, praising, connecting with, and loving them. This is all with the goal of helping each student-athlete progress academically, socially, and athletically and ultimately helping create successful future professionals, fathers, husbands, and community members.
Doty graduated from Morningside College with a Bachelor's Degree in English and a minor in Business Administration.
Craig Doty Coaching Record at Rock Valley College:
Year W L PCT. W L PCT. Post Season
2015-16 33 3 .917 11 3 .786 NJCAA Region IV/District 2 Champions, NJCAA DIII National Champions
2014-15 31 4 .886 13 1 .929 NJCAA Region IV/District 2 Champions, NJCAA DIII National Runner-up
2013-14 30 5 .857 10 4 .714 NJCAA Region IV/District 2 Champions, NJCAA DIII National Champions
2012-13 19 16 .543 7 7 .500 NJCAA Region IV/District 2 Champions, NJCAA DIII National Tournament 7th place
Total 113 28 .801 41 15 .732
2-time NJCAA DIII National Champions (2014, 2016)
NJCAA DIII National Runner-up (2015)
2-time Spalding NJCAA National Coach of the Year (2014, 2016)
NABC National Coach of the Year for all levels of junior college (2016)
HoopDirt.com National Coach of the Year for all levels of junior college (2016)
2-time NJCAA Coaches Association National Coach of the Year (2014, 2016)
Ranked #7 in CoachStat's top 25 junior college coaches in the country for all levels of junior college basketball
Selected to speak at the NABC convention at the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix, AZ on behalf of junior college basketball
113-28 record at Rock Valley College
18-3 record in post-season play
Led Rock Valley to a #1 national ranking by the NJCAA from October 27th, 2014 until present (24 consecutive national polls)
4x Don Klaas NJCAA Region IV Coach of the Year
4x Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year
4x NJCAA District 2 Coach of the Year
2x Gary S. Cole Coach of the NJCAA DIII National Tournament (2014)
2x NJCAA Allstar game coach in Las Vegas, NV (2014, 2016)
Cory Hoff enters his second season with Graceland University, his first as the associate head coach. Hoff's primary duties include being the recruiting coordinator, player development, scouting, academic support, and managing team defense.
A native of Deckerville, Michigan, Hoff comes to GU after spending the past four seasons at Mesa Community College, a NJCAA Division I institution in Arizona, three as the lead assistant and recruiting coordinator.
While at Mesa, Hoff assisted the Thunderbirds to an 84-36 overall record over four seasons. Mesa made the NJCAA Region 1 Division 1 playoffs in all four seasons. In addition to a 68-20 record in Arizona Community College Athletic Conference play, Mesa won the ACCAC regular season and Region 1 Division 1 playoffs during the 2013-14 season. Mesa acheived an ACCAC regular season and postseason runner-up finish in both the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons.
Hoff was responsible for recruiting, player development, scheduling, scouting, and academic support among his duties while at Mesa. Hoff helped to recruit and develop eight All-ACCAC student-athletes during his tenure. Hoff played a role in the recruitment and development of NJCAA Division 1 2nd team All-American, Khari Holloway, at Mesa.
Hoff graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science and Wellness and Concordia University-Irvine with a Master of Art in Coaching and Athletic Administration.
Hoff resides in Lamoni with his wife, Tatum, and their two daughters, Talea and Caley.
AJ Gordon enters his first season as an assistant coach at Graceland University.
Gordon comes to Graceland by way of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa where he has been an assistant coach the past two seasons. Despite Simpson having a 17-59 record in the three seasons prior to Gordon's arrival, Gordon helped the Storm to a 31-21 overall record and a 17-13 Iowa Conference record in his two seasons in Indianola.
Before his time at Simpson, Gordon was a graduate assistant coach at NAIA-member Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska for two seasons. Gordon played college basketball at Dana College and Midland University graduating from Midland in 2013 with a Bachelors of Arts in Secondary Education. Gordon prepped at Treynor High School in western Iowa where he was a three-time all-conference performer. Gordon will also be the recruiting coordinator for the men's basketball program at Graceland.
Graceland welcomes Gordon and his wife Regan to the family.