Donovan gets the call
Anne Donovan, the women's basketball coach at Seton Hall University, will be introduced today as head coach of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, league sources told The Day on Wednesday night.
The press conference will be held at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret Theatre at 3 p.m.
Donovan, who coached the United States Olympic team to a gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Games and the Seattle Storm to the 2004 WNBA Championship (the Storm beat the Sun), replaces Mike Thibault, who was fired after 10 seasons.
Thibault, an assistant on Donovan's Olympic team, was recently named head coach and general manager of the Washington Mystics.
Donovan is expected to finish the season coaching Seton Hall but will have an active role in the Sun's offseason decisions, the sources said.
The 6-foot-8 Donovan, the NCAA's all-time shot blocker (801), was inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. She's in her third season at Seton Hall, where the Pirates are 5-8 and begin their Big East season on Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Donovan, 51, has coached four different WNBA teams, most recently the New York Liberty in 2009-10. New York played for the 2010 Eastern Conference championship. She has a WNBA coaching record of 167-150, tying her for fourth in wins with former Los Angeles Sparks coach Michael Cooper.
Donovan had extraordinary success with USA Basketball. She won gold as a player in 1984 and 1988, and she has a 58-6 record as a head coach.
Minnesota forward Taj McWilliams-Franklin, a former Sun player, said that Donovan was her role model during a 2004 interview with wnba.com.
"She was the first woman that was tall and graceful," McWilliams-Franklin said. "Off the court, she made me proud to be tall. On the court, she taught me to work on my game and accept criticism."
Sun guard Kara Lawson played for Donovan at the 2008 Beijing Games. Guard Kalana Greene also played for Donovan during her 2010 rookie season with the New York Liberty.
Connecticut finished 25-9 last season and finished first in the Eastern Conference. They lost to the eventual WNBA champion Indiana Fever in three games during the conference final.
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