“That was before 10,000 fans in Alabama,” Doucette recalled. “It was amazing.”
At the Final Four in Springfield, Lowell beat top-ranked Florida Southern, which had beaten four Div. 1 schools that year, and then Alaska Anchorage in the national title game.
Doucette later continued his successful coaching career at Div. 1 UNC-Asheville, S.W. Missouri State and Chaminade University in Hawaii before becoming an athletic director at Hamilton-Wenham.
He laughs when he recalls a question from a radio guy about Lowell repeating the next year.
“People don’t understand that that was a storybook season,” said Doucette. “To do it took a heck of a lot of overachievement.”
One of the best parts of the title was that Doucette’s two key pieces were local players — Bobby Licare of North Andover and Leo Parent of Lowell, both of whom played at Central Catholic.
“I think people forget how well-rounded Leo was,” Doucette said. “He truly was the definition of a team player. He could have scored a ton more points, but he played in a system to maximize team production. He was a 6-foot-6 post player for us that had the ability and did shoot the 3-point shot. But he was committed to sacrifice what was necessary for a team to reach their maximum potential.
“As for Bobby, we were the only school that offered him a full scholarship. Dick Licare is one of my closest friends. I have known the entire family for a long time and knew Bobby’s value. Bobby went to the foul line with two free throws to clinch a national championship. Normally, I’m a glass-is-half-empty kind of coach. But I was relaxed and confident ... He completed every kid’s dream with game on the line and the ball in his hand.”
Bill Burt is executive sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune and columnist for the Andover Townsman. You can contact him at email@example.com.