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