New Year, New Coach – Amy Donovan Brings Lifelong Passion to SCC

Phin women’s basketball has a new head coach.
Amy Donovan has an Ivy League education, expertise in multiple sports and her own sports performance company.

Growing Up

Donovan hails from the Evergreen State, more specifically from Battle Ground in southwestern Clark County and about 45 minutes north of Portland. She was involved in soccer, basketball and track and field growing up. Her parents encouraged her to be a multi-sport athlete, and her dad even coached her youth soccer and basketball teams. Her parents both grew up in the Boston area and were avid Celtics fans.

Larry Bird wasn’t all she watched, however.

“When I was little we had tickets to the Portland Power, which was an ABL team, which predated the WNBA,” she said. “A lot of women’s basketball players don’t watch women’s basketball, which can be frustrating, and so when I was young it was very fortunate that my parents took me and exposed me to that.”

Collegiate Career

Accepting a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, she played on the basketball team for all four years, co-captaining the team her senior season. Donovan described her playing style as a shooting guard meets small forward, with specific skills in both passing and shooting.

She also competed in track and field; upon graduation, she held the fifth all-time school record for the discus throw.

Coaching Prowess

All told, she played basketball for 18 years before moving on to coaching. “Even from a young age, coaches described me as having a coach on the floor,” she said. “I was able to read defenses, which is a lot of the reason why I got into coaching in the end.” After UPenn, Donovan coached at Battle Ground High School before moving to Seattle and the University of Washington.

At UW, she coached as a graduate assistant for a year, while earning her master’s degree in education. After graduate school, she coached AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball in South Seattle. Through a colleague, she found out that Holy Names Academy was looking for a head coach and went for it. She got the gig and helmed the Holy Names’ Cougars for a year before taking a position as assistant coach for Northern Arizona University. That path led her to SCC, where last month she was named as the Dolphins’ head coach.

On the NBA

Like all good coaches with drive, Donovan looks to the best in her sport. A big fan of Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors, she says, “It’s great basketball to watch. Also, she has always followed the NBA: “When I was growing up, I watched a ton of NBA. … I was really big on John Stockton. (I) loved to watch him play, the way that he could move the ball around.” “I love—and (he’s) still somebody I reference when I’m coaching—Hakeem Olajuwon. For a post player, (he) was a lot of fun to watch,” she said.

On Soccer

Donovan started playing basketball at the age of 4, but that wasn’t her first athletic experience. Soccer predated even her basketball career, and her love for the sport hasn’t waned. “I watch a ton of Premier League,” she said. “That’s kind of my thing where I just like to shut my brain off and not be in coach’s mode. So on the weekends I watch that.”

On SCC

As an AAU and high school basketball coach in Seattle, Donovan learned about recruiting in the area. “What drew me to Shoreline is that I know they have so much talent in this region, that not all of those kids go and play at the next level,” she said. “So trying to have the opportunity to use that knowledge and kind of rebuild a program was really exciting for me.” In the near future she hopes to run camps and clinics at SCC for youth athletes in the area. She sees it as an avenue not only to instill good basketball fundamentals, but also to increase SCC’s visibility to the surrounding talent pool as well as raise awareness for local kids to realize their potential and play college ball.

CJ Priebe

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