Former Storm coach Ann Donovan passed away at 56-years old on Wednesday. Donovan led the Storm to their first WNBA title in 2004; she also won two Olympic gold medals as a player in the 80’s while also winning one as a coach in 2008.
Donovan’s family released the below statement.
“While it is extremely difficult to express how devastating it is to lose Anne, our family remains so very grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful human being,” the statement said. “Anne touched many lives as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and coach. Anne was a person with strong faith, courageous spirit, a giving heart and love for everyone,” her family’s statement continued. “We are so proud of her accomplishments as a women’s’ basketball player and coach, but even more proud of her character, integrity, humility and kindness.”
Donovan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 1995 class and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural 1999 class. Her championship with Seattle in 2004 came when she was 42, making her the youngest coach to win a WNBA title in the league’s history.
The legendary coach played a major role in my interest in women’s basketball as I followed the Storm through my neighbors during their championship run. She ran a sharp program with an aggressive offense with a stifling defense that forced opponents to make low percentage shots. Their games were just see events for basketball fans, and it helped suck me into a sport I had no real interest in at the time.
Her loss will be felt by basketball fans everywhere, especially up here in Seattle.