Donovan named Olympic women's basketball coach

Updated: January 12, 2006, 10:06 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Anne Donovan was picked to coach the United States women's 2006 world championship and 2008 Olympic basketball teams Thursday.

Anne Donovan

Donovan, a former Olympian, will coach the team at the World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and at the 2007 Olympic qualifying tournament if necessary. The winner of the World Championships automatically qualifies for the Beijing Olympics.

"She really was the perfect choice to lead our team on the court for the next three years," USA Basketball president Val Ackerman said. "She has pretty much everything we need."

Donovan was Van Chancellor's assistant during the 2002 World Championships and 2004 Athens Games. She was also a member of U.S. squads that won the gold medal in 1984 and 1988 and was selected for the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games.

Donovan, a unanimous choice of the selection committee, has been part of 19 USA Basketball teams as a player and coach.

The World Championships begin Sept. 12 -- a month after the WNBA regular season ends. Training camps are set for March and April, most likely in Europe. Team roster decisions won't be made until the summer, said Donovan.

The team will reconvene just before the championships. There will also be three assistant coaches, two college coaches and one from the WNBA, chosen by a committee.

"It's one of the few times in my life … when you try to articulate what's going on inside and I don't think it's possible. This is up there for me," Donovan said.

Last year, Donovan became the first female coach to reach 100 wins in the WNBA, and has 112 career victories. In 2004, she led the Seattle Storm to the first professional title in the city since 1979 and was the first female coach to win the league crown.

Donovan also coached Indiana and Charlotte of the WNBA and the Philadelphia Rage of the American Basketball League.

Donovan was a Naismith Award winner as a player at Old Dominion, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. She played professionally in Italy and Japan in the 1980s.

In her second year in Seattle, Donovan guided Olympians Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson of Australia to the league title. The Storm set a franchise record with 20 victories in the regular season, before defeating Connecticut in the league finals.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press