SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Olympic gold medalist and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Anne Donovan has been named the third head coach in Seton Hall women's basketball history, it was announced on Monday by Director of Athletics Joe Quinlan.
"We are excited to bring in someone of Anne's caliber to lead our women's basketball program," said Quinlan. "The magnitude of her accomplishments as both a player and coach is virtually unmatched. Anne has competed at the highest levels of women's basketball, both nationally and internationally, and this experience will be an invaluable resource to our student-athletes as they face the challenges of BIG EAST play."
The announcement comes on the same day that Kevin Willard was named head men's basketball coach at Seton Hall.
"As president, I am thrilled that Seton Hall has in Anne Donovan and Kevin Willard two remarkable head coaches," Monsignor Robert Sheeran said. "Our men's and women's basketball programs are entering a new era, which will bring great student-athletes and renewed winning traditions to the University. In hiring these outstanding coaches, the University has demonstrated our commitment to competing with the best of the best in the toughest conference in the country, the BIG EAST. I look forward to Coach Willard and Coach Donovan leading our basketball teams with skill and commitment on and off the court."
Donovan is currently the head coach of the WNBA's New York Liberty, having taken over on an interim basis halfway through the 2009 regular season. She will remain on the sidelines for the Liberty through the 2010 season.
"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to come home to New Jersey and coach at Seton Hall," said Donovan. "The outlook for the women's basketball program is bright and I look forward to becoming a part of the university community."
"I am very excited to have Anne as our women's basketball coach," said Ginger Fulton, Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA. "She is a leading figure in the sport and one of the most decorated players of all-time. Anne will be focused on bringing a WNBA championship to Madison Square Garden for the Liberty this summer before embarking on her coaching career in South Orange."
Donovan owns a remarkable 132-10 (.930) all-time record on the sidelines for USA Basketball. As head coach, she led the 2008 United States Women's Senior National Team to gold in Beijing and as a result was chosen with Mike Krzyzewski as co-recipient of the 2008 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award. Donovan also helped the U.S. capture gold at the Olympics in 1998 and 2004 as an assistant coach.
As the tallest player in the women's game, the 6-8 Donovan quickly made her presence known both on and off the court as a collegian. She was recognized by virtually every post-season and All-American squad in the nation during her career at Old Dominion, earning Kodak All-American honors for three years and Academic All-American honors for two straight seasons. Her honors culminated in 1983 when she claimed the Naismith Trophy as the national Player-of-the-Year and was awarded an NCAA post-graduate scholarship for her academic achievements. Donovan completed her four years at Old Dominion with a 3.5 cumulative average in her major of recreational services and became the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Monarchs' history with 2,719 points and 1,976 rebounds. She remains the NCAA's all-time shot blocker with 801.
Donovan won gold medals as a player with the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic Teams, the 1983 and 1987 Pan American Games Teams, the 1986 World Championship Team and the 1978 and 1979 U.S. Olympic Festival East Teams. She played five years of professional basketball in Japan before returning to Old Dominion in 1987 as a part-time assistant coach.
In 1989, Donovan was elevated to a full-time assistant coach, and she remained at her alma mater until taking the head position at East Carolina University in 1995. The Pirates made one appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship game during her three-year stint at the helm.
Donovan began her WNBA coaching career as the interim head of the expansion Indiana Fever in 2000, followed by head coaching positions with the Charlotte Sting (2001-2002) and the Seattle Storm (2003-2007). She amassed a regular-season record of 93-77 (.547) with four playoff appearances in Seattle, including the 2004 WNBA Championship title. Donovan became the first female coach in WNBA history to reach the 100-win mark with the Storm's victory over Minnesota on August 18, 2005. She also was the head coach of the Philadelphia Rage in the former American Basketball League (ABL) in 1998.
On May 15, 1995, Donovan was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. She was one of the twenty-six inductees in the inaugural class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June of 1999. Additionally, she is a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame, the Old Dominion Sports Hall of Fame, the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame and the CoSIDA Academic All-American Hall of Fame. In 2004, Donovan was named by the Sun Belt Conference as its All-Time Women's Basketball Player, and in 2008, she received the NCAA 25-year Award in Nashville, Tenn. Donovan was presented with an honorary Doctorate's degree from Old Dominion University on Dec. 13, 2008.
Donovan is a native of Ridgewood, N.J. and a graduate of Paramus Catholic High School.