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April 7, 2010
Chestnut Hill, Mass. (bceagles.com) -- Steve Donahue, who led Cornell to three consecutive Ivy League titles and a trip to the 2010 NCAA Sweet 16, has been named head basketball coach at Boston College, Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo has announced.
"This is an exciting day for Boston College basketball," DeFilippo said. "Coach Donahue led the Cornell program to an unprecedented level of success and he is well respected throughout the college basketball community. Coming from an Ivy League institution, he understands the academic mission of Boston College. His teams play an exciting, fast-paced brand of basketball, and his student-athletes are great ambassadors for the university. He is a great fit for our program."
Cornell achieved the best Ivy record over the last five years (55-15) and Donahue was recognized for his work by being named a court coach by USA Basketball for the Under-18 national team trials in Washington, D.C., in July of 2008. Donahue coached and/or recruited seven of the school's top 13 all-time leading scorers, two Ivy League Rookie of the Year players, eight NABC All-District selections, six Academic All-District picks and two Academic All-Americans.
The Big Red reached new heights in 2009-10, winning the program's third straight Ivy League title en route to an Ivy League-record 29 wins and not only the program's first NCAA win, but a trip to the Sweet 16. Cornell climbed as high as No. 22 nationally in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, the program's first national ranking in 59 years, and set an Ivy record for three-pointers in a season (326). The team also set single-season school records in points (2,545), field goals (913), assists (543) and blocked shots (127). The Big Red won the MSG Holiday Festival with a victory over St. John's, Cornell's first win over a Big East school since 1969, and captured a season-opening win at Alabama, the team's first win over a school from the Southeastern Conference since 1972. Cornell went 11-1 at home and won 18 games away from home, the most among any Division I school. The most attention was given to Cornell's noble effort in a 71-66 loss at No. 1 Kansas, a game the Big Red led with under a minute to play. The Big Red then shocked the world as a No. 12 seed, knocking out both fifth-seeded Temple and fourth-seeded Wisconsin by double figures to advance.
For his efforts, Donahue was named the Clair Bee Coach of the Year, the NABC District Coach of the Year, the midseason Hugh Durham Coach of the Year by collegeinsider.com as the top mid-major coach in the country, and was a finalist for both the Hugh Durham Award and the Jim Phelan Award for national coach of the year.
Cornell earned its second consecutive Ivy League title in 2008-09, becoming the first team other than Penn or Princeton to win consecutive outright championships in conference history in the process. The Big Red went 21-10 and won the Ancient Eight by three games with its 11-3 mark. It was the first time Cornell had posted consecutive 20-win seasons.
The 2007-08 district Coach of the Year according to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the United States Basketball Writers' Association (USBWA) and CollegeInsider.com (Hugh Durham National Mid-Major Coach of the Year finalist), Donahue directed the 2007-08 Big Red to a 22-6 record and the program's first Ivy title in 20 years.
Off the court, Donahue expects his players to succeed in the classroom and contribute in their community. Cornell players made frequent appearances in local schools, speaking to students on the importance of a good education.
Renowned as a top recruiter and for his offensive mind while an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, Donahue learned the trade from some of the nation's top coaches. Donahue served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Fran Dunphy at Penn for 10 years. During his tenure as a Quaker assistant, he was heavily involved in the recruitment of five of Penn's top 20 all-time scorers. He was also instrumental in the Quakers winning six Ivy League titles in his last eight years there, advancing to the NCAA tournament five times and earning national recognition with a top 25 ranking.
Prior to joining Dunphy's staff at Penn, Donahue coached for two seasons at Philadelphia University. During his two seasons there, the Rams won 20 games each season and also competed in the 1989 NCAA Division II tournament.
Donahue served as an assistant for current Lafayette head coach Fran O'Hanlon at Monsignor Bonner HS, helping to guide Bonner to the 1987-88 Philadelphia Catholic League championship. He began his coaching career at Springfield HS under Skip Werley, his former college coach. He served as head coach of the junior varsity and assistant coach for the varsity team for three seasons.
He captained both the baseball and basketball teams as a senior at Ursinus College, earning four letters in both sports. As a freshman, Donahue helped the basketball squad finish 23-8 and advance to the NCAA Division III tournament. He graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and business administration.