Today marks the passing of one of Canada’s most accomplished basketball coaches. On the 16th of April, 2003, Jack Donohue passed, leaving behind a lasting legacy to those he knew, taught and coached. The native of New York, NY began his coaching career in the U.S. where he was fortunate enough to have shaped the young basketball mind of one of the sport’s greatest players - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Jack’s success and skill brought him North of the Border in 1972 as Canada searched for a new coach to guide its Senior Men’s National Team. In his 17 years at the helm, Team Canada found some of its greatest successes on the international stage, including a gold medal on Canadian soil at the 1983 World University Games in Edmonton. He led his charges to Olympic 4th-place finishes in 1976 and 1984. Following a strong 6th place showing at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Donohue announced his retirement.
Coach Donohue will be remembered as a strong-willed bench boss, but it is perhaps his coaching philosophy that will define his legacy. Jack championed the notion that excellence on-the-court must be matched off-court through a life of character and conviction. The life of Jack Donohue and his tireless dedication to the sport he loved is still celebrated today though the schools and events which have been named in his honour - including Canada Basketball’s annual Jack Donohue International Classic.