When Tiki Barber played football for Cave Spring High School, Doug Doughty was sometimes there to cover it.
When Barber moved on to become a running back for the University of Virginia, Doughty was always there to cover it.
When Barber played his final game before retiring from the NFL, Doughty made sure to be there to cover that, too.
Now it's Doughty's turn to retire.
Doughty, who has been a sports writer for The Roanoke Times since 1974, will be retiring at month's end.
"To me, he's a legend," Barber, 45, said in a phone interview. "He made us and the things that we were doing feel important, and told our stories to a lot of the people we grew up with."
Doughty, 68, was hired by The Roanoke Times in July 1974, after graduating from UVa.
He is the dean of the UVa beat writers. He has been on that beat for The Roanoke Times since 1978, after having covered the Cavaliers periodically in his first four years at the newspaper.
Doughty has been at UVa men's basketball games to cover everything from the Cavaliers winning the 1976 ACC Tournament to the Ralph Sampson era to UVa claiming the 2019 NCAA championship.
"Anybody who can last in a profession, especially in … [the newspaper] profession, which is challenging, I think speaks volume to the quality of their work, the quality of the character of the person," UVa men's basketball coach Tony Bennett said.
When fielding Doughty's questions at press conferences, Bennett has been impressed with Doughty's basketball insight.
"He's good at what he does, without a doubt," Bennett said. "He understands the game.
"And he's respectful. Sometimes you sense people are attacking. … He's not afraid to ask pointed questions, but he's respectful."
Many writers who cover big-time college football do not cover high school football games as well. But if the UVa football team had a Saturday home game, Doughty would spend his Friday night reporting on a high school football game. Because he also covered recruiting, he wanted to actually see high school standouts in action.
"Doug was a good voice for all of us in the Timesland area. I remember waking up after games, wanting to read whatever Doug [wrote]," said former Cave Spring, UVa and NFL defensive back Ronde Barber, who is Tiki's twin. "The things that used to show up in The Roanoke Times that Doug had written, they were like gospel to all of us. It's the only thing we knew. … It's not like we had the internet or social media."
"You're a junior in high school and you're getting covered by one of the top sports guys in the state, that's a big deal," Tiki Barber said. "He made us feel special."
After covering the Barbers when they were at Cave Spring in the early 1990s, Doughty continued to do so when they played for the late George Welsh at UVa.
"I was connected with Doug when I got to college, [from] him being around during the high school days. He was a guy I trusted because of it," said Ronde Barber, who is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "A lot of reporters out there, you don't really trust. You learn that as you get older. But I had trust in Doug from the beginning.
"He's a call that I've always taken; there's plenty of people that call and I'm just like, 'Well, I'm not calling that dude back.’
"His opinion matters. It truly matters what he says."
Doughty was direct but still easy to talk to, said Tiki Barber.
"He has an easy way of conversating," the former New York Giants star said. "He's not aggressive, so you never feel threatened, even if he's asking you about, I don't know, fumbling."
Doughty's conversations with the twins have evolved, now that they are grown men with families of their own.
"You develop a bond," Tiki Barber said.
Doughty has covered UVa football for decades, and even was the co-author of a book on the UVa-Virginia Tech football rivalry. He witnessed memorable football wins over Tech, Florida State and Miami during his career.
He was named the commonwealth's sports writer of the year three times by the National Sports Media Association.
"Doug was a very serious-minded, purposeful questioner and writer," former UVa football coach Al Groh said. "He wanted to get answers and information so that he could knowledgeably write about what was on his mind. … He was a real professional.
"They were always probing questions; they were never silly. Some questions you get are really silly. … Whether it was postgame or during the week, when he came into a session he was always prepared for it with certain things he wanted to find out more about."
Doughty, a music buff, and Groh did not only talk about wins and losses.
"We used to have a little bit of banter once in awhile about who our favorite musical artists were," Groh said. "You could say Doug and I knew more about, say, Van Halen and Hall & Oates than we did about Lil Wayne."
Doughty was inducted into the state's sports hall of fame in 2018.
"He was fair," said former UVa football assistant and head coach Mike London, now the coach at William and Mary. "He asks good questions. Sometimes you would want to hear them and sometimes you didn't, but at the same time you knew that he had a job to do.
"I don't think Doug ever took a personal swipe."
London also appreciated the features Doughty wrote on UVa players.
"Doug was good about writing about the players and things they did off the field," London said. "He made allowances for a humanistic approach."
Doughty did not only write about UVa football and men's basketball. Plenty of other UVa teams got his attention, too.
He was in Knoxville, New Orleans and Los Angeles when then-UVa women's basketball coach Debbie Ryan's team played in three straight Final Fours in the early 1990s.
"He tells the truth," said Ryan, who steered UVa from 1977 to 2011. "He's a very good writer. It's hard when you're a writer because there's going to be half the population that feels like you're wrong and half the population that feels like you're right. … But he's always been a really good person."
Ryan used to have dinner with Doughty and other reporters in the depths of University Hall before UVa men's basketball games.
As is the case with Groh, London and others, Doughty remained on good terms with Ryan after her UVa reign ended.
Doughty is a competitive swimmer, and Ryan teases him about that.
"He knows a lot about me. I know a lot about him," Ryan said. "He's a good family man and he cares about people. But it's really hard when you have to write about people and sometimes you have to write things that might not be as flattering as the person may want it to be.
"I always found him to be upstanding, honest."
Doughty has covered the UVa baseball team in the College World Series — although not the year the Cavaliers won the 2015 NCAA crown, because Doughty was instead in the stands, as the proud father of then-UVa pitcher Matt Doughty.
Doughty has also covered the Virginia men's soccer team's NCAA titles.
One weekend in December 1994, he covered UVa winning a men's soccer semifinal in North Carolina on a Friday, flew to Houston to cover the UVa men's basketball team playing Rice on a Saturday, then flew back to cover the soccer team winning the national crown on a Sunday.
Doughty was also in the press box when UVa won NCAA men's lacrosse championships under then-coach Dom Starsia.
"He was always fair and even-handed," said Starsia, who coached UVa from 1993 to 2016. "At the same time, he was sort of no-nonsense, … a tough taskmaster.
"He could appreciate a well-played game, those kind of athletic moments, but at the same time, in situations where we … didn't play that well, you knew you were going to face real questioning from Doug. He didn't soft-pedal things."
Lacrosse is one of the sports for which Doughty has an affinity.
"You treated his questions … respectfully. You knew you were talking to someone who knew what he was talking about," Starsia said.
Doughty has not reported only about UVa for The Roanoke Times.
He has written a weekly college notebook since the 1980s.
He also does annual Christmastime rankings of the state's top high school football recruits. He has done so since the 1980s, back before there were recruiting websites.
He has not only covered local golf tournaments but used to cover the PGA Tour as well. He was inducted into the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame last year.
Doughty has also covered minor-league hockey and minor-league baseball, as well as high school swimming, lacrosse and basketball.
But despite a time-consuming job, Doughty always made time for his family.
Doughty and his wife of 41 years, Beth, have four children.
"He was always able to make it to a swim meet or make it to a Little League baseball game," daughter Allison Doughty said.
When the kids were younger, they would sometimes go to UVa games with their dad so they could spend that two-hour drive to Charlottesville with him.
"Even though he worked weird hours, on weekends, it was always a family affair," Allison Doughty said.
After the children grew up and moved away, they would call him during his late-night drives home from Charlottesville.
"That was our time to catch up," Allison Doughty said.
Allison Doughty is now the director of events and hospitality services for the College Football Playoff, while her sister, Caroline, is a technology integration specialist for an Alexandria elementary school. Michael Doughty is the vice president for a company in Charlotte, while Matt Doughty is now a Seattle Mariners scouting analyst.
Allison and Caroline Doughty used to be volunteer assistants in the UVa football office when they were students at Virginia, so Groh and London gained insight into what Doug Doughty was like when he did not have a notebook in his hand.
"I got to know a lot more about his family, … his commitment as a parent to his children," Groh said. "I appreciated that he had that value system."
"Those Doughty daughters — first-class, great individuals," London said. "Probably the mom had a lot to do with it, but I know they got some of those Doug Doughty qualities as well."
Allison Doughty used to work for the ACC before moving to Texas for the College Football Playoff job, so Bennett got to know her as well.
"You watch how a daughter looks at her dad. I watched them interact. That always impressed me because you could see how much he loved his daughter and just how much she cared for him," Bennett said.
Bennett has also gotten to know Doug Doughty over the years, through conversations about golf and other topics.
"He's a good man. He's caring," Bennett said.
Doughty will have more time for his family in retirement (Beth Doughty recently retired as executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, an economic development organization), but his bylines will be missed by readers of The Roanoke Times.
Claytor Lake resident Bill Cunningham, a former president of the New River Valley chapter of UVa's athletic booster club, has read Doughty's coverage of UVa for many years.
"I always appreciated his opinion on UVa sports, even when I didn't necessarily agree with it," Cunningham said. "He was always an objective reporter and would point out the good and the bad in any particular situation. I always thought he was fair. I always thought he was very detailed."
The people Doughty covered appreciated him, too.
"He wanted to get the story. He never wanted to get the individuals," Groh said. "He wanted to be able to report the story as he accurately saw it. You've got to have a lot of respect for somebody who approaches journalism that way."