Doug Ferguson

Douglas Ferguson, May 4, 1945 – June 16th, 2020

Dr. Douglas Ferguson is Professor Emeritus of Counseling at South Mountain Community College. He was instrumental in the development of SMCC’s athletics programs, having served as Athletic Director for 22 years.

Dr. Douglas Ferguson, 1984
Image provided by South Mountain Community College

Dr. Douglas Ferguson was born a triplet in Chicago, Illinois during World War II. His parents cultivated an atmosphere of hard work while he and his brothers thrived on competition. These values served him well in his path to collegiate athletics, and his future career in higher education. He earned a scholarship to play basketball at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa in the late 1960s. From there, he coached and taught at Elgin Community College until moving to the Phoenix area in 1979.

Upon moving to Arizona, Ferguson tried opening a roofing business, but his heart remained in education. In 1981 he took a part time position coaching basketball at Glendale Community College. Within a few months, he was also offered a job at South Mountain Community College. Ferguson, who values loyalty, worked with campus administration to fulfill his commitment at GCC while also working full-time as a Program Advisor at SMCC.

Doug explains how he came to work at both SMCC and GCC

Ferguson initially thought he would wind up as SMCC’s basketball coach after the inaugural coach, Joe Caldwell moved on. Instead, President Cardenas appointed Ferguson as the Athletic Director. He was the third A.D. hired in only three years at South Mountain Community College. He held the position for 22 years. Under Ferguson’s guidance, SMCC’s athletic programs grew to include fifteen total programs, several winning regional and national championships.

Doug remembers initiating nine additional programs in his first years as SMCC’s Athletic Director

Dr. Ferguson went above and beyond in his role as Athletic Director. He was an avid recruiter, a passionate community advocate, and the primary facilities manager. Running programs on a very new campus required ingenuity and creativity – and Ferguson had plenty of both. He worked with community members to upgrade the fields, he secured unexpected donations, and he gave chances to relatively new coaches.

Doug tells how McDonald’s donated the flag pole for the SMCC softball field

Dr. Ferguson’s passion for education is apparent. He saw himself as a mentor to students and new professionals, and he never gave up on the opportunities that could come from going to college. He reminded his students and athletes regularly that anything was possible, through hard work and dedication. His contributions to South Mountain Community College can be seen in the athletic programs, and are relevant among our alumni and faculty today.

On Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 Doug passed away. South Mountain Community College lost a great friend, a devoted colleague, and a true founder of our campus. He will be missed very much.

Faculty Interviewers: Summer Cherland & Travis May