Donovan Selected as Team USA Olympic Assistant

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (November 6, 2003) -- Boasting of over two decades of international basketball success as a USA Basketball player, coach and committee member, WNBA Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan has been selected to serve as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor (Houston Comets) and the 2004 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team. The selection, pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee, was made by the USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Executive Committee.

Donovan will patrol the sidelines again for Team USA.
Jeff Reinking/WNBAE/Getty
Athens will mark Donovan’s return to the Olympic stage. As a player she helped the United States to gold medals in 1984 and 1988 and is one of only three women to be on a trio of Olympic squads after beginning her Olympic career as a member of the 1980 U.S. team. Bolstering her international credentials are a pair of FIBA World Championship gold medals as an assistant coach for USA Basketball. In 1998 Donovan was on Nell Fortner’s staff that guided the United States to a golden finish and in 2002 she worked with Chancellor as the U.S. defended its No. 1 world ranking.

“I think the Olympic experience is the highest level and our Olympic team will be comprised of veteran players who have been there, who are eager to go back and do it again and I’d like to think I can have some input (as someone who has been there),” said Donovan. “The most important thing for me though, personally, is the experience I had recently with coach Chancellor and the World Championship, winning that gold medal. I think my recent experience is what will come in most handy.”

“I’m really excited to have Anne on the Olympic staff,” said Chancellor. “I was so pleased with her help in the World Championship. I thought this was a no-brainer to add her to the staff and I’m thankful the Committee did that. What she does is bring an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish. She and I just hit it off right off the bat, we’re on the same page. And she’s also really good at working with post players since she played there, she’s just really good at that.”

Having served as an athlete representative on USA Basketball’s Executive Committee and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Select Team Committee during the 1996-2000 quadrennium, Donovan has been entrenched in the USA Basketball organization since 1978 as a player, coach and committee member, and her 2004 Olympic appointment marks Donovan’s fourth coaching assignment with USA Basketball.

In serving as an assistant to Chancellor and the 2002 USA World Championship Team that captured the gold medal with a perfect 9-0 record in China, Donovan was also on the sidelines as the U.S. earned the Australian-hosted 2002 Opals World Challenge title with a 4-0 record against three of the then-top-five ranked teams in the world (Australia, Brazil, France). Donovan also aided Chancellor in evaluating the final members of the 2002 U.S. squad during the USA National Team’s spring training camp. During that time the red, white and blue earned a 100-59 exhibition victory over the 2002 WBCA College All-Stars in San Antonio during the NCAA Final Four weekend.

In 1998, Donovan served as an assistant coach to Fortner with the USA World Championship Team that captured the gold medal in Germany with an unblemished 9-0 record. Prior to the World Championship, Donovan assisted the U.S. squad to a 12-1 pre-competition record against national teams from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Slovakia and Spain. Donovan also assisted Fortner and the 1997 USA Women’s World Championship Qualifying Team that posted a 4-2 record, earned the silver medal in Brazil and qualified the U.S. for the 13th World Championship. During its 13-game pre-competition exhibition tour of Canada, Germany and Slovakia, Donovan helped the U.S. squad to an impressive 12-1 record and a pair of tournament titles.

Donovan is very familiar with the first seven members of the 2004 USA Women’s National Team, which is expected to form the core of the Olympic Team, having coached all of them internationally and one, Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting), in the WNBA. While a head coach at the Charlotte Sting, one of Donovan’s star players was two-time Olympian Staley, who was also a member of the 1998 and 2002 USA World Championship teams. Additionally, Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Shannon Johnson (Connecticut Sun), Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks) and Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx) were on the ‘02 squad. Leslie, Milton-Jones and Smith were all members of the 1998 USA team, while Tina Thompson (Houston Comets) was a member of the 1998 USA World Championship Team before an injury forced her to withdraw after competing in the USA’s first seven exhibition games.

“I think my experience (with the seven core players) does help in that regard, that I’ve been with USA Basketball for awhile,” commented Donovan. “That and also in coaching in the WNBA. I know the players, I’m very familiar with their strengths and hopefully I can help Van as we design the plan that will win an Olympic gold medal.

“Also, we’ll be going up against a lot of talented players like Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm). The Czech Republic has qualified and I have a young lady (Kamila Vodichkova) who plays for the Czech team. It’s exciting to be a part of this. So many of the players in the WNBA come together and are hungry. The WNBA has been a great experience for many. It has gotten players from other countries more familiar with the U.S. players and probably lost some of their intimidation of the United States. I think that works two ways, it helps us and hurts us.”