Today: May 29, 2024

Spoof: Donnelly to take job at UConn

Photo Illustration | Pete Paguaga and Jeff Nowak
After two successful seasons at Southern, Donnelly is taking his talents to Storrs.

 @Pete_PaguagaSports Junkie

After two very successful years at Southern, mens basketball head coach Michael Donnelly is stepping down from his position. He was offered a spot on hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun’s staff at UConn and was named head coach in waiting for when Calhoun chooses to retire.

“This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” said Donnelly.

Donnelly started coaching collegiately at Post University. He coached there for seven seasons, posting a 79-62 record before taking over at Southern. When he came to Southern he completely turned the program around, leading them to back-to-back NE- 10 tournament appearances.

“He is going to be a huge loss to not only the program but to the university,” said Southern Athletic Director Pat Nicol. “He completely turned the mens basketball program around in two short years.”

Calhoun is very excited to have Donnelly join his staff, and sees him as a perfect fit to succeed him.

“He’s a Connecticut guy, he went to Central Connecticut then Sacred Heart, he coached at Post and then at Southern, he is the perfect fit for UConn,” said Calhoun.

“This decision was hard for me, I really enjoyed my time here at Southern, but for my career and my family this was the best fit,” said Donnelly.

He has yet to inform his players of his decision, considering that the decision was made this morning.

“I will be contacting them individually; they will all be informed of my decision by the end of the week,” said Donnelly.

UConn Athletic Director, Warde Manuel is behind Calhoun’s choice 100 percent.

“Coach Donnelly has all the traits of being successful here at UConn,” said Manuel. “I see him being not only as successful as Calhoun, but I think he could win four to five National Championships.”

With the departure of Donnelly effective immediately, assistant coach Mike Makubika will serve as interim head coach. Southern will start a countrywide search for Donnelly’s replacement.

“Of course Mike [Makubika] will have a chance to take the job, but we think it is fair to open it up to anyone we feel is right for the job,” said Nicol. “We have reached out to some former Division I coaches and some current Division II coaches.”

Under Donnelly the Southern men’s basketball program did a complete 360. From 2007-2008 season to the 2009-2010 season the Owls managed a combined 11 wins.

In Donnelly’s first year at Southern, 2010-2011, he won 12 games and led the Owls to their first trip to the NE-10 tournament in nine years. This season Donnelly led the Owls to 14 wins and another trip to the NE-10 tournament.

He also was successful with his recruiting. In his two years, Donnelly brought in players like Greg Langston, Tylon Smith, Luke Houston and Kyle Callanan out of high school. He also had players Trevon Hamlet and Dominique Langston transfer from Post and Quinnipiac University respectively.

“We saw how well and hard Donnelly can recruit and that is his biggest strength,” said Manuel. “We believe he can continue bringing in five-star recruits.”

“I see a lot of myself in Mike,” said Calhoun. “But I also see a lot of possible success in Mike. I am glad I will be leaving my program to someone like him.”

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