PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania has named Steve Donahue as the John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball. Donahue will be formally introduced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m.; this press conference will take place in The Palestra and will be open to the public.
Click here to watch the press conference!
Donahue’s hiring marks a return to Penn for the Delaware County native, who will become the 20th head coach in the program’s 115-year history; he was an assistant coach for the Quakers under Fran Dunphy from 1990-91 until 1999-2000. During that 10-year span, Penn won six Ivy League titles including four separate undefeated conference campaigns, compiling a 182-91 overall record that included a 114-26 mark in Ivy play.
“After performing a robust and year-long assessment of the men's basketball program, we entered the search process with a strong sense of the background, skills and character traits we felt were necessary for Penn's next head coach,” said Penn’s Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. M. Grace Calhoun. “An impressive group of candidates were thoroughly vetted, and Steve Donahue clearly rose to the top. Coach Donahue is a nationally recognized coach and proven recruiter with unquestioned integrity. His deep knowledge of and appreciation for Penn basketball, the Ivy model of student-athlete development, and the Big Five were unparalleled in the search. We are confident in Coach Donahue's ability to return Penn men’s basketball to prominence. We welcome Steve, his wife Pamela, and his family back to Philadelphia.”
“I am thrilled to be coming back to Penn as its head men's basketball coach,” said Donahue. “Having been a part of Philadelphia and Penn basketball for the greater part of my life, I have a great passion for this city and this program. I spent 10 extraordinary years as an assistant here at Penn working with one of the great head coaches in all of college basketball, Fran Dunphy. That, combined with my experiences as head coach at Cornell and Boston College, have led me to this distinct opportunity to return the program that I grew up watching to national prominence. I plan to provide the energy and the enthusiasm that will put Penn basketball back atop the Ivy League.”
Donahue left Penn to become head coach at Cornell ahead of the 2000-01 season. He stayed in Ithaca for 10 years, gradually building the Big Red program up until the table was set for a three-year run that included a trio of Ivy League titles; a 72-21 overall record that included a 38-4 Ivy mark; and three NCAA Tournament appearances that included a run to the Sweet 16 in 2010. Donahue was the Clair Bee National Coach of the Year and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 4 Coach of the Year in 2009-10; and the NABC District 4 Coach of the Year and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District II Coach of the Year in 2007-08, when his team went 14-0 in Ivy League play to become just the third program in Ancient Eight history to achieve an unbeaten conference season (also Penn and Princeton).
While at Cornell, Donahue coached and/or recruited seven of the school’s top 13 all-time leading scorers; two Ivy League Player of the Year selections; two Ivy League Rookie of the Year selections; eight NABC All-District selections; six Academic All-District players; and two Academic All-Americans.
Following that Sweet 16 campaign, Donahue left Cornell to become head coach at Boston College. He spent four years at The Heights, going 21-13 his first season and getting the Eagles to the NIT. In 2012-13, he boasted the consensus ACC Rookie of the Year in Olivier Hanlan.
This past basketball season, Donahue was a regular analyst on college basketball broadcasts for ESPN and FOX.
Prior to his arrival at Penn for the 1990-91 season, Donahue was an assistant coach under legendary coach Herb Magee at Philadelphia University for two seasons and helped the Rams to a pair of 20-win seasons and the NCAA Division II Tournament. Before that, Donahue was as an assistant coach for current Lafayette head coach Fran O’Hanlon at Monsignor Bonner High School, helping to guide Bonner to the Philadelphia Catholic League title. He began his coaching career at Springfield (Pa.) High School.
Donahue is a 1984 Ursinus College graduate, where he was a four-year letterman in both basketball and baseball for the Bears and captain of the basketball team as a senior. His freshman season, Donahue helped the basketball team finish 23-8 and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament semifinal round. His sophomore year, the Bears were NCAA quarterfinalists.
Donahue and his wife, Pamela, have four children: Taylor, Matthew, Katie and Jack.
What they are saying about Coach Donahue…
“Steve Donahue is a terrific basketball coach, and is even more impressive off the court. Certainly, the more I interacted with Steve and coached against him while he was in the ACC, the more impressed I became. Having been a head coach at two elite academic institutions in Cornell and Boston College, Steve should be an excellent fit at Penn. He has already proven he can win at a high level in the Ivy League, while maintaining the values that are so important to those institutions. This is truly an outstanding hire by the University of Pennsylvania.”
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University and USA National Team Head Coach
"This is a great choice for the University of Pennsylvania. Steve is a proven coach who will definitely get the job done. Penn Basketball is very fortunate. I cannot wait to have him back in Philadelphia.”
Herb Magee, Philadelphia University Head Coach
"I have had the pleasure of working with Steve Donahue for a decade and I learned a lot of basketball from him. For him to come back to Philadelphia to be a part of the University of Pennsylvania and the Big 5 seems like a great fit for Steve. He has an excellent basketball mind and has a great rapport with his players.He also knows the Ivy League, knows Penn Basketball, and knows Philadelphia and its rich basketball history.”
Fran Dunphy, Temple University Head Coach
"Steve Donahue is a highly respected coach among his colleagues in the Ivy League and nationally, and I'm especially proud to have him back in the Big 5!"
Jay Wright, Villanova University Head Coach
“Steve Donahue will have an immediate, long-lasting and positive impact on the basketball program at the University of Pennsylvania and its future success in the Ivy League. He knows what it takes to win at a place like Penn, and I am confident he will be successful in the years to come. This is an absolute perfect hire for the Quakers.”
John Beilein, University of Michigan Head Coach