WNBA Seattle Storm Names Anne Donovan Head Coach
Dec. 19, 2002
SEATTLE - The Seattle Storm today announced the hiring of Old Dominion University Hall of Famer Anne Donovan (ODU' 83) as the franchise's new head coach, signing her to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Donovan, who led the Charlotte Sting to the WNBA Playoffs the last two seasons, becomes the second coach in the four-year history of the Storm, succeeding Lin Dunn who resigned Sept. 3.
"This is a very exciting and gratifying day for Storm basketball," Storm General Manager Billy McKinney said. "After a thorough search of numerous highly qualified candidates, we are delighted to name Anne Donovan as the new Storm head coach. She is an accomplished head coach, an excellent communicator, a student of the game and a great spokesperson for women's basketball. In addition, Anne is a respected liaison to the professional, collegiate and international basketball communities." With the Sting, Donovan, who coached the Eastern Conference team in the 2002 WNBA All-Star Game, had a record of 36-28 (.563). She led Charlotte to an amazing turnaround in 2001 when the team began the season 1-10 before embarking on a 17-4 run that ended in the WNBA Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Sparks 2-0 in the best-of-three series. "I am so thrilled about the opportunity to coach the Storm, a young and exciting team that showed such great promise last summer," Donovan said. "The prospect of coaching two of the game's most exciting and decorated players in Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson was incredibly appealing to me and I look forward to beginning this new chapter in my career."
A 1995 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Donovan began her WNBA coaching career as the interim head coach of the expansion Indiana Fever in 2000. She also was the head coach of the Philadelphia Rage in the former American Basketball League (ABL) in 1998. "With the hiring of such a renowned figure in women's basketball as Anne Donovan, we have made another significant commitment to the foundation of Storm basketball in Seattle," Sonics & Storm President and CEO Wally Walker said. "This franchise experienced increased fan support last season, and we saw encouraging strides in attendance at KeyArena. Since the team advanced to the playoffs for the first time, we hope to remain a contender amongst the WNBA's elite under Anne's leadership." Donovan served as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor on the gold-medal-winning U.S. Women's Senior National Team, which featured Storm All-WNBA guard Sue Bird, at the 2002 World Championships in China in September. It marked her third coaching stint with USA Basketball, for which she was a member of 12 teams in a span of just over 12 years. "Having Anne Donovan as our new coach will be very rewarding as we continue to grow as a contender in the WNBA," Bird said. "I was fortunate to become acquainted with Anne and learn from her during the World Championships, and I can't wait for next season."
Donovan's coaching career began in the collegiate ranks. She was an assistant at her alma mater Old Dominion (1989-1995) before taking the helm at East Carolina University (1995-98). A Naismith Trophy winner and three-time All-American selection at Old Dominion, Donovan was a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. Women's Basketball Team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. She also played professionally in Italy (1988-89) and Japan (1983-88).
"Anne Donovan will do so many great things to help the Seattle Storm thrive," Vice President of Operations Karen Bryant said. "Our fans will not only be impressed with her coaching expertise but her personality, commitment to the women's game and ability to be a strong presence in the community." Donovan's first major task as head coach will be the 2003 WNBA Draft, which will be televised by ESPN2 on Friday, April 18. The Storm have four picks (11th, 27th, 43rd and 59th) in the draft. Storm fans will have an opportunity to meet Donovan at the team's "Holiday Open House" at KeyArena tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m. Storm players Michelle Marciniak and Kate Starbird will also attend the event to greet fans. For information on 2003 Storm season tickets, call 206-217-WNBA or log onto storm.wnba.com. The Seattle Sonics & Storm manages the Puget Sound region's professional basketball franchises - the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA's Seattle Storm. The organization oversees all sales, marketing, finance, public relations, broadcast production and basketball operations for both teams. The Basketball Club of Seattle LLC, a local group of private investors led by Seattle-based entrepreneur Howard Schultz, owns both teams.