As she transitions into her new job as coach of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, Anne Donovan will rely on one of the basic tenets of her philosophy.
“As a coach it is incumbent upon to bring as much positive energy as possible,” Donovan said Monday while serving as a panelist during this year’s Big East “Chalk Talk” at the XL Center.
“Coaches have an opportunity every day to impact women and that is why I love coaching so much. And leadership is about the relationships you build with your players and your staff. Positive, healthy relationships are the core of coaching as is the consistency with how you deal and communicate with the players.”
Donovan’s three-year run as Seton Hall coach ended with Saturday’s second-round loss to St. John’s. After a few more days of caring for loose ends, she will join the Sun and prepare for April’s draft.
She was joined on the panel by Ilene Hauser of Nike, Marynell Meadors, the former coach and GM of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, Gail Marks, a former member of the All-American Red Heads and Anucha Brown, the VP of the NCAA’s women’s basketball championship.
Donovan, who has coached a WNBA champion in Seattle and the 2008 Olympic gold medal team, is very serious when it comes to the commitment of effort. And it goes back to when she was very young.
“When I was 15, I was 6 feet 6,” said Donovan, who is 6-11. “You realize at that time you built for basketball, made for basketball. I knew I was gifted and that I loved the game. I had played in the Olympic festival for two years and was considered an up-and-coming player.
“So I was invited to USA Basketball trials for a team that was going to play in Taiwan. Everyone was expecting me to make the team – especially me. When they cut me and sent me home I realized right away how important making the most you could with your time and opportunity to blessed with opportunities.
“I resolved that I would never get cut from a team again because I didn’t work hard enough or didn’t prepare. I might not be good enough, but I would never be sent packing again because I wasn’t good enough. That has shaped who I am as a player, a person and a coach. And I thank God for [being cut] because I don’t know how seriously I would have taken things if I hadn’t. And in hindsight, the game wouldn’t have taken me as far as it has.”
Donovan said she is planning to move to Connecticut after Easter. Ironcially, she was sitting next to Chris Sienko, the Sun general manager, at Tuesday’s Big East semifinal doubleheader.
Sitting two rows in front of them was former Sun coach Mike Thivault, now the coach/GM of the Washington Mystics. Also in the section was former Atlanta coach/GM Marynell Meadors.
Meadors was an assistant with Doug Bruno and Sun assistant coach Jen Gillom. She is currently not working but is still being paid by the Dream, who fired her late last season.
Meadors fired off one of the funniest lines on Tuesday’s Chalk Talk when answering a question about how frequently colleges coaches offer very young players scholarships.
“You don’t think Brittney Griner could have gotten an offer in the fifth grade,” Meadors said. “I think Geno would have offered Maya Moore in the first grade.”