Factoids from the Anne Donovan press conference today:
- Sun GM Chris Sienko said change is hard. Yes it is. Have you ever tried to give up bread and pasta?
- Donovan was in the middle of a five-year deal with Seton Hall during which she won two Big East games in 32 tries. She says whoever takes over the program will be inheriting one that is “well on its way.” But it won’t happen until next season. She is staying with the Lady Pirates until the bitter end (of the regular season). “I love college kids,” she said. “I am better for having met them and their families. It was not wasted time for me [coaching Seton Hall] at all.”
- I mentioned on Thursday morning that Mike Thibault refused comment about Donovan’s hiring. That is not the case. We never actually spoke. It was more an effort to communicate through a third party that proved unsuccessful. Sometimes you write so many words in a day that some don’t communicate as well as you would like.
- She tries for conference win three Saturday when the Big East season opens against Pitt. Seton Hall beat Pitt last season for its only Big East win (1-15). Pitt was a pushover. It was 0-16.
- Let’s put it this way: You wouldn’t want to recruit players to Seton Hall knowing they will have to eventually play UConn and Notre Dame. Impossible is putting it mildly.
- Anne said talks with the Sun picked up over the last two weeks. I was going to call her to see if she was interested in the job two weeks ago. I didn’t thinking she would say, “Are you crazy, in the middle of my season.” I will call the next time. “There is not a coach who would pass this job up,” Donovan said. I know one, UConn fans.
- Anne told her team she was leaving Thursday morning. She was hoping the news of her hire would stay a secret until then. Tough to do in Connecticut where the only secret is where you can find ESPNU on your TV.
- Donovan hasn’t had the chance yet to talk to all of the Sun players. But she has coached two; Kara Lawson (2008 Olympics) and Kalana Greene (2010 Liberty). “I heard from Kara’s husband,” Donovan said. “And I spoke to Kara at length. I am excited about [coaching her again].”
- She hasn’t put her staff together yet, but here’s a guess: Gail Goestenkors and Patty Coyle, both good friends. “I am already in conversations with several people.”
- Donovan won her WNBA title in 2004 with Seattle, led by Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson. In that series, they beat the Sun.
- She said Mike Thibault called her last night to congratulate her, like she called him after he was fired “at that point not knowing what my future would be.”
- Donovan expects personnel decisions with the Sun to be a “partnership” with Sienko. She said she remains very familiar with WNBA personnel, even though she’s been away for two years. “I wouldn’t work for an organization where I wasn’t a part of those things,” she said. “I want to have a say.”
- When told she will eventually get to coach a bunch of UConn players with the Sun she said “What’s better than UConn players?” Ask Stanford. It would know.
- Is it fair that people expect her to win a championship this year? “It’s fair to have those expectations, yes,” she said. “That’s what I am hoping to do if all the cards fall right.” Said you need experience to win championships.
- She said she and Thibault are very different people with different philosophies and styles. She is quieter. Take it from me.
- The uncertain of the Big East conference contributed to Donovan’s departure. “The job I signed up for and one it has become have become very different,” she said
- I asked her what she was thinking about watching UConn-Stanford on Saturday. She said, “Wow.” Good, we have something in common.
- This is what she thinks of UConn: “The young players in Geno’s program, the talent – amazing. You think you can’t get better than [Kaleena] Mosqueda-Lewis. Then you get Breanna Stewart. It’s remarkable. There is great talent and it’s remarkable that it keeps ending up in the same place.”
- She is excited about working with MVP Tina Charles, a center. He equated it to working with center Lauren Jackson in Seattle, another former MVP.
- Donovan said Mohegan Sun Arena is “the toughest place to play.” That distinguishes it from Walsh Gymnasium, the toughest place to find. “There is no better arena [than the Mohegan Sun].”
- In case you don’t know, Donovan stands 6-8. Don’t take questions to the basket against her.
- She says she was happy to coach the 2008 Olympics, but happy to walk away from the pressure after the gold was won.
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