HOF Women's Basketball Player, Coach Anne Donovan Dies at Age 56

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2015, file photo, Connecticut Sun head coach Anne Donovan is shown during the second half of a WNBA basketball game in Uncasville, Conn. Donovan has stepped down as the head coach of The Connecticut Sun after three losing seasons. Donovan, who took over in 2013 after the Sun fired Mike Thibault, was a combined 38-64 at Connecticut and never made the playoffs. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Anne Donovan, a women's basketball pioneer who was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995, died Wednesday of heart failure.

She was 56.

"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," Donovan's family said in a statement, via espnW's Mechelle Voepel. "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. 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 won an Olympic gold medal in 1984 and 1988 as part of the United States women's basketball team. She later led the U.S. to a 2008 gold medal as a head coach.

Her coaching career was long and illustrious, ranging from collegiate stints at East Carolina and Seton Hall to multiple stops in the WNBA. Her 2004 Seattle Storm won the WNBA championship, and she became the first female WNBA coach to reach 200 victories in 2015.

Her last coaching stint was a three-year run with the Connecticut Sun from 2013-15.