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Ex-Chadron State athlete Don Daugherty dies in Arizona

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Don Daugherty, who died recently at age 69, was the second leading scorer and rebounder on the Chadron State basketball team in 1972-73.  He was paralyzed from the waist-down the past 40 years, but continued to live a productive life.

A former Chadron State College athlete known for his gung-ho attitude, Don Daugherty, died at age 69 on October 20 in Gilbert, Ariz., where he had lived the past 14 years.

The son of Harry and Darlene Daugherty, he grew up on a farm at Huntley, Wyo., where he was an outstanding all-around athlete. While in high school, he also played on the American Legion baseball team at Morrill that won a state championship while it was being coached by Chadron State graduate Dale Hendrickson, who was inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame a year ago.

Daugherty also taught and coached at Morrill shortly early in his career.

Well-known for his competitiveness, Daugherty earned all-state honors in football and basketball at Huntley High, and played basketball two years at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington before transferring to Chadron State. He was one of two players to start all 24 games for the Eagles in 1972-73 when he averaged 11 points and six rebounds, both second high on the team.

The following year, he played college football for the first time and was the leading tackler on the special teams. He did not play basketball the first semester of the 1973-74 season, but joined the team again the second semester and averaged 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds while playing in 14 games.

Both Daugherty and a couple of his CSC basketball teammates suffered misfortune in their lives.

That included Roger Ingabrand, the leading scorer and rebounder both years he and Daugherty played for the Eagles. Ingabrand taught and coached at Farson, Wyo., about 30 years following his graduation from CSC in 1975. After contracting a virus while he and his family were vacationing in Jamaica about 10 years earlier, Ingabrand required a heart transplant in late 2017 and passed away in March 2020.

Also on the CSC 1972-73 basketball team, was Dave Sanders, who became a hero in the Columbine High School shooting rampage in the Denver area in April 1999.

Sanders, who had taught and coached at Columbine for 25 years, ran through the cafeteria and halls warning students and faculty that two well-armed students were causing havoc in the school. He and 12 students, along with the two perpetrators who committed suicide, died in the shocking incident. but news accounts gave him credit for saving perhaps 100 lives. Among the many honors Sanders received posthumously was the ESPN Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

Tragedy also had struck Daugherty’s life in May 1980, when he was paralyzed from the waist down during an auto accident. However, he continued teaching and coaching from a wheelchair the next 16 years.

Several of those years while also teaching in the Torrington Schools, Daugherty was an assistant basketball coach at Eastern Wyoming College under Bob Davis, who had previously been the CSC men’s basketball mentor and now lives in Texas.

“Don had a big impact on me, our family and my players,” Davis said by telephone last week. “He was incredible. He was ornery and both him and my other assistant (Chadron native) Matt Kruse, liked to pull pranks on me. That was good because I was wound pretty tight. The three of us became great friends and remained in touch.

“Don was a positive person,” Davis added. “I never heard him complain except when it was really cold because his circulation was poor. That’s why he eventually moved to Arizona. He was incredible. I admired him a lot.”

After leaving coaching, Daugherty was the education director for a Nevada women’s prison, where he received the Employee of the Year Award, and later was a consultant for a hotel and casino, an office manager for a construction company in Las Vegas and worked in human relations in the Phoenix area. He also helped care for his mother several years prior to her death in 2019.

Daugherty was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Tom and Randy and a son, Jason. Survivors include a daughter, Brittany, brother Jerry and wife Christie Daugherty of Herriman, Utah, and several nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life is planned for the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 14 at his residence at 3364 East Hopkins Avenue in Gilbert.

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