Anne Donovan is currently the head coach at Seton Hall University, but will be returning to the WNBA as the Connecticut Sun's new head coach.
Today, the Connecticut Sun announced that Anne Donovan, current women's basketball head coach at Seton Hall University, has been named the team's head coach. She replaces Mike Thibault who was also the team's only head coach since the Sun moved to Connecticut from Orlando in 2003.
Anne Donovan has a 167-150 overall record as a WNBA head coach, which includes stints with the Indiana Fever (2000 as an interim head coach for Nell Fortner); Charlotte Sting (2001-2002); Seattle Storm (2003-2007); and New York Liberty (started as a head coach mid-season in 2009-2010). She has led the 2001 Sting and 2004 Storm teams to the Finals and won the 2004 WNBA championship with the Storm.
In addition to her WNBA coaching resume, Donovan was the head coach of the 2008 Team USA Olympic basketball team in Beijing, China that won the gold medal. Donovan also has additional college head coaching experience where she was at East Carolina from 1995-1997, and has additional professional coaching experience where she led the ABL's Philadelphia Rage from 1997-1998.
Donovan is also an accomplished basketball player in her own right, as she played at center for Old Dominion University from 1979-1983, where she holds an NCAA record 801 blocked shots and won the AIAW national title in 1980 while with the Monarchs. Donovan was on three Olympic teams in 1980 for Moscow, Russia (where she did not play due to Team USA's boycott) and won two gold medals in the Los Angeles games in 1984, and the Seoul, South Korea games in 1988. Donovan was named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1995.
The Connecticut Sun's roster as currently constructed already is very strong, as it is headlined with a young duo in current MVP center Tina Charles and current Sixth Woman of the Year guard Renee Montgomery. In addition, forward Ashja Jones and guard Kara Lawson add a heavy hitting veteran presence for the team.
It should be noted that with Donovan's hiring, the WNBA's Eastern Conference is now made up of some very well respected and accomplished coaches for the league. It features three coaches (Donovan for CT; Lin Dunn for Indiana; Bill Laimbeer for NY) who have won five total championships. Along with the aforementioned Mike Thibault who is now the head coach of the Washington Mystics, these four Eastern Conference head coaches also have made a combined ten Finals appearances between them.
Coach Donovan will remain as head coach at Seton Hall for the remainder of the 2012-2013 season though she will still have some influence over personnel decisions during free agency for the Sun. Still with her departure coming within the coming months, it may not be unwelcome news for the Pirates given that they aren't doing well right now, and things don't seem to have changed much in the record books since she arrived. As a college head coach where Donovan has only a combined 43-88 record (as of the date of this posting) in about four and a half full seasons, and a 21-53 record at Seton Hall as of the date of this post.
The Pirates have only won one Big East conference game each in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons under Coach Donovan, and this season so far with conference play yet to begin, they are already 5-8. However, given that the college and pro games are different in terms of recruiting and day-to-day management, this should not be of too much concern to Sun fans given that she has a proven track record for success in the WNBA both in its early years and not too long ago.
We give our congratulations and best wishes to Coach Donovan on her new role with the Connecticut Sun, as she attempts to lead the team to its first WNBA championship in a league and conference made up of a good number of heavy hitting WNBA head coaches.