Ken Doherty’s accomplishments in the sport of track & field run the gamut: an accomplished athlete, a successful coach, a talented meet director, and a respected author of instructional books on coaching track & field.
In 1928, Doherty won the Olympic Decathlon Trials; although not looked at as a major contender at the 1928 Olympics, he won the bronze medal. A graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Doherty won a second AAU national decathlon title in 1929, setting an American record in the process.
After retiring from amateur athletic competition, Doherty entered coaching. He served as the head coach at the University of Michigan from 1939-48, leading the Wolverines to seven Big Ten team titles. He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania, where he coached until 1961. As head coach at Penn, Doherty also took on the role of meet director, directing the Penn Relays (1951-69), the first USA vs. USSR dual track meet in 1959, the 1961 NCAA Outdoor Championships, and the Philadelphia Inquirer indoor meet.
During this busy time, Doherty also began his instructional book writing career. In 1953, he wrote his first track & field textbook, Modern Track & Field. Over time, he wrote two more books, including the multi-edition Track & Field Omnibook, and multiple journal articles, as well as contributing to the Hall of Fame Library at Butler University. The library later became the National Track & Field Research Collection of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles (AAFLA).
Doherty served as President of the track coaches association from 1954-55. He was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998 and into the USATF Hall of Fame in 1976. An annual fellowship in Doherty’s name is administered by the AAFLA.