Championship Q&A: Anne Donovan

Kevin Pelton, | Oct. 18, 2004
Last week, Seattle Storm Coach Anne Donovan added a WNBA title as a coach to the AIAW national title she won in college as a player at Old Dominion and the two gold medals she won with the U.S. Olympic Team as a player and her involvement with this year's gold-medal-winning Olympic Team as an assistant coach. Donovan spoke to the media Friday after the Storm's Championship Celebration at Westlake Center.

Donovan and Storm star Lauren Jackson ride in a convertible to Friday's celebration.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
Can you describe what this week has been like?
Anne Donovan
: Incredible memories, and they just keep getting added to - the parade today and the thousands of people there. I think, probably, (the best was) the players on that podium winning the trophy, Betty coming down; it was truly special.

What does it mean to be the first female coach to win a WNBA Championship?
: It means a lot to win a WNBA Championship. That's been my goal as a coach since I started this career. The fact that I'm a female really does add to it. It's something that I've continually downplayed, but I have so much respect for the women in this business, and it's such a difficult business for us to advance in. I think without the ultimate credentials, championship credentials, it will be difficult for us to continue to get the respect that I believe we deserve. If this helps, that's great.

David Locke wrote in the Seattle P-I that you could be the first female coach in the NBA. Is that something you'd be interested in?
: No. I love this. This is the ultimate for me. I've loved every level I've coached at, but I can't think of any place, any team, any players I'd rather coach than the Seattle Storm.

Even for a couple million dollars?
: There's always that paycheck, isn't there? You know, I am really content, and for me, it is not about the money. Championships are so much cherries on that cake, because to me, it's about relationships and people. I landed in an incredible organization first, surrounded by these tremendous young players that make every day really a good job for me.

Was the celebration evidence that this was a city hungry for a championship?
: Yeah, it really was. That's, I think, what I'm so impressed with - that this is more than a championship, this is more than a women's staff winning this championship, it's more than a young team, it's a Seattle that's really hungry for this. For the first time as a coach, for the first time in my life, this is about a championship and winners and a city embracing that. It has nothing to do with women, men, gender, it's just a championship and a city that's embraced that, and that's special. It's unique.

Have you been involved in parades before?
: Yeah, as an Olympian my hometown had a parade. In Japan, when we won championships, we had parades, and the people were crazy over there. Nothing like today, absolutely nothing like today.

What made today different?
: It's tough to describe. As you look out there as the cars are moving, or walking through Westlake Center, you saw kids, you saw little boys, girls, the elderly, fathers, men in business suits. I think what really stands out is so many women that kept saying, 'You go, girls!' We really crossed so many walks of life. Again, that's what's impressive. Seattle has embraced us. It's more than just women's basketball. It's incredible.

What were those parades like?
: In my hometown, it was my family. It was my hometown. In Japan, maybe because I was the gaijin, I was the foreigner who didn't really embrace it like I did today. I'm a Jersey girl. I'm an East Coast girl who's moved out to the West Coast for two years, and I'm sold. I absolutely love Seattle. To see that the city has embraced not only me but this team the way that it has completely endears me to this city. It's tremendous.