Anne Donovan recently added to her basketball resume when she was named the New Jersey Sports Writers’ Association (NJSWA) Sports Woman of the Year. Others who were honored include Fred Hill, Steve Somers and Frank Litsky.
She received the award Sunday night at the NJSWA 75th anniversary banquet at the Pines Manor.
Donovan played her high school basketball at Paramus Catholic in Paramus New Jersey. At 6-foot-1, she led Paramus Catholic to consecutive undefeated seasons and two state championships. During her senior year she averaged 25 points and 17 rebounds.
From Paramus Catholic, the Ridgewood, N.J. native went on to play at Old Dominion University. While she was at Old Dominion she led the Lady Monarchs to the 1979-1980 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championship.
In 1983, she became the first female to win the Naismith Player of the Year award. She also set school records in points (2719), rebounds (1976) and blocked shots (801). Her mark of 801 blocked shots is still the standard in the NCAA.
On top of all of her NCAA accolades, Donovan won two Olympic Gold Medals as a member of the 1984 and 1988 National teams. She was member of the 1980 National team that did not go to the Olympics due to the 1980 Olympic Boycott.
After her career as a player ended, Anne Donovan pursued coaching which eventually led her to Seton Hall. Her coaching stint began as the assistant coach at her alma mater (1989-1995). Donovan then served as the head coach at East Carolina University. She also led the Seattle Storm of the WNBA to their first championship in 25 years in 2004.
After coaching the New York Liberty, Donovan was named the head coach of the Pirates. She won her first game in the new role on November 6, 2010 in a 72-59 victory over Temple.
Donovan said she is really excited about receiving the honor. “I never thought this Jersey girl would come back to New Jersey,” she said according to a press release from Seton Hall Athletic Communications. “I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”
Emily Governale can be reached at email@example.com