On the court, he’s a passionate and energetic coach that pushes his athletes to get the best out of them.
Off the court, he’s a family man. “I have three lovely daughters and a beautiful wife,” Coach Ahmad Dorsett says. “To have the opportunity to do what I’m doing and to have a strong support system to come home to every day is a blessing.”
Dorsett is Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach at North Carolina A&T. According to A&T, since his arrival, Coach Dorsett “has helped lead the Aggies to consecutive winning seasons and a 25-7 (.781) MEAC Conference record, with the 25 MEAC wins being the most for the program in consecutive seasons in 31 seasons.” In 2020, Coach Dorsett was recognized as one of the top assistant coaches in the MEAC by Jeff Goodman of Stadium.
Coach Dorsett joined North Carolina A&T following seven seasons as assistant men’s basketball coach at High Point University, where he took the team to a winning record 119-99 overall and a Big South Conference record of 76-46.
But, he says, coaches get into the business not just to win games. “We have an opportunity to mold young men to become strong men when they leave the institution,” he says, adding that the A&T basketball program currently has a 100% graduation rate. “We’ve had the best GPA in program history this past semester. We want our guys to be able to walk onto that stage with a degree in their hands. Whether they choose to play basketball in the professional arena or not, they’ll be successful and be prepared for the real world.”
Coach Dorsett looks to recruit athletes with high character. “Kids who are driven, who want to work, who want to be the best, who want to step on the court and perform at a high level.” There’s a saying at North Carolina A&T, he says: “We’re going to recruit the best to play next to the best.”
And the team has been successful in achieving a major goal this year. “Head Coach Will Jones put a goal in place for us to win the regular season,” Coach Dorsett says. “And this is the first time that North Carolina A&T Men’s Basketball has won the regular season in 30 years. We got that accomplished.”
Due to the pandemic and a false positive COVID test, however, the team was unable to participate in the NCAA Tournament. “When you’re No. 1 seed in the bracket and you don’t get the opportunity to play a game,” Coach Dorsett says, it’s difficult for the team.
“Were leaving one conference and going to a new conference,” he says. “So we have an obstacle of learning about our new opponents, learning new opponent schemes, learning how travel is going to be different. There will be things we’ll have to adapt to. We’ll do our research, we’ll study, and try to figure out the best way to get over the obstacles that are in front of us and that will be in front of us.”
Despite the obstacles the team faced due to the pandemic, Coach Dorsett plans to work hard to achieve two more goals – “win the conference tournament and go to the dance.”
“Our guys were resilient throughout the year,” Coach Dorsett says. “They did everything they needed to do to follow protocols and take care of themselves.” He also credits the health staff on campus, as well as the athletic staff and trainers. “They’ve done a great job working with us throughout this process.”
Coach Dorsett’s coaching philosophy is: Attitude, Commitment, Class and Enthusiasm. “I want everybody to come in the with right attitude every day – players, coaches, support staff. We always want the right attitude. Because if we have the right attitude, it means we can push through any adversity,” he says.
Coach Dorsett also wants everyone to be 100% committed. “You’ve got to be totally in, you can’t have one foot in and one foot out. Everybody has to be committed in everything we do. If everybody’s committed, then the synergy we can have will make us all successful.”
He also wants every player to act in a first-class manner. “We want to be first-class in everything we do. When we travel, when you’re going to your classroom – sit in the front row, take your hat off – open doors for people, be polite, speak, don’t just walk around with your headphones on and your head down, people want to see you smile.”
And finally, enthusiasm. “Let’s be excited about what we do,” Coach Dorsett says. “You’re doing something you love. I don’t think coaching basketball is work, it’s so much to be able to go to work with excitement and see the people you’re with side by side very single day. To have a great staff to work for and work with makes your day so much better, and time just flies. When you bring that enthusiasm in the office and on the court, your players follow your lead. They see it’s not just practice, you’re out here doing something you love.”
Coach Dorsett began playing basketball in second grade. “I’ve been doing that all my life. I had the opportunity to get a scholarship playing the game I love, and I played under a Hall of Fame Coach Will Robinson. He was an integral part of my success and what I’m doing now.”
Basketball has always been important to Coach Dorsett “It got me to where I am now,” he says. “I always told myself that whenever I stopped playing, that the next best thing is to become a coach. It’s like you’re still playing; you’re just not bouncing the ball and playing on the whistle.”
Blessed with athleticism, Coach Dorsett was able to use that tool and channel it in sports. Not only did he play basketball, but he also played soccer, football and baseball, and ran track.
But he was pulled in the direction of basketball. “I took it and I ran with it,” he says. Growing up, he says, student athletes’ goals were to be an NBA player or an NFL player. “And of course, like any other, kid, I wanted to be an NBA player, to be Michael Jordan. It took my junior year in high school and Coach Rob to really put me in a position to be successful and have the opportunity to receive a scholarship to play at the next level.”
Coach Dorsett is motivated by his family – his wife and daughters, who are basketball fans. “They don’t play the game, but they’ve been behind me since day one.” And his parents, who both live nearby and, before the pandemic, would attend every home game. “They did whatever it took for me to be successful,” he says. “They did a tremendous job providing for my sister and I. I’m modeling what they did for us for my family now.”