Seton Hall pries Donovan from WNBA
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Anne Donovan is leaving the New York Liberty after the upcoming WNBA season to become the women's basketball coach at Seton Hall.
The Big East school confirmed the hiring on Monday, noting that Donovan will coach the Liberty this season and take over full time when the season ends in August. Seton Hall also announced it had hired Kevin Willard as men's coach, replacing the fired Bobby Gonzalez.
Donovan replaces Phyllis Mangina, who resigned after posting a 9-21 record in her 25th season as Seton Hall coach, including a 1-15 mark in the league.
"This is a historic moment for Seton Hall University," Patrick Hobbs, the law school dean who has been overseeing the Athletics Department since July, said in a statement. "Kevin Willard was our first choice and he is the right man to lead our men's program. On the same day to welcome Hall of Fame legend Anne Donovan to lead our women makes this one of the great days in Seton Hall athletics history."
Donovan did not return telephone messages left by The Associated Press on Sunday and Monday seeking comment.
The hiring of Donovan was first reported by The Record of Hackensack.
With Donovan joining the school after the season, the job of recruiting will fall mostly to her assistants.
Michael Cooper did the same thing last season, coaching the Los Angeles Sparks before becoming the coach at Southern California.
Donovan was announced as head coach of the Liberty on 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 came hours after a source told The Associated Press that Willard would replace Gonzalez, who was fired after a 19-win season beset by problems off the court.
The school plans a news conference on Wednesday to introduce both coaches.
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.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press