Reports: Donovan to coach Pirates

Updated: March 29, 2010, 12:24 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Anne Donovan is leaving the New York Liberty of the WNBA to become the women's basketball coach at Seton Hall.

Patrick Hobbs, the university law school dean who is overseeing the athletic department, confirmed the hiring in an interview with the Star-Ledger of Newark.

The hiring of Donovan at the Big East Conference school was first reported by The Record of Hackensack. She replaces Phyllis Mangina, who resigned after posting a 9-21 record in her 25th season as coach, including a 1-15 mark in the league.

Neither Donovan nor Hobbs returned telephone messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Donovan was named the head coach of the Liberty Dec. 3 after guiding the team to a 7-10 record as interim coach. She joined the team as an assistant in April, 2009.

Donovan's hiring comes just hours after the school confirmed reports that Iona's Kevin Williard had agreed to replace Bobby Gonzalez as the Pirates' men's coach. Gonzalez was fired after a 19-win season beset by problems off the court.

"We're bringing one of the iconic figures of women's basketball to Seton Hall," Hobbs told The Star-Ledger. "We're excited and hopeful for the future of our women's basketball program."

It's uncertain if Donovan will leave the Liberty immediately or coach the upcoming WNBA season. When Michael Cooper left the Los Angeles Sparks to take over at USC, he coached the entire 2009 WNBA season.

Born in Ridgewood, Donovan began her WNBA career as the interim head coach of the expansion Indiana Fever in 2000. She also coached the Charlotte Sting (2001-2002) and the Seattle Storm (2003-2007), winning the 2004 WNBA title.

She coached the United States to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and was an assistant coach on the gold medal winning teams in 1998 and 2004.

Donovan won gold medals with the 1984 and 1988 Olympics teams. She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and was one of the 26 inductees in the inaugural class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

After helping Old Dominion win consecutive AIAW national titles, Donovan started her coaching career as an assistant at her alma mater (1989-1995) before taking the job at East Carolina (1995-1998). She also was the head coach of the Philadelphia Rage in the former American Basketball League (ABL) in 1998.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.