Anne Donovan, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and Hall of Fame player and coach has died at the age of 56.
According to an Associate Press report, the family of the former Old Dominion University star announced her death due to heart failure on Wednesday.
“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 family said in a statement. “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.”
At 6-8, Donovan was reportedly a center blessed with a vast array of physical tools that included the ability to score at will from both the perimeter and the low post. She won a national championship at Old Dominion as a freshman in 1980 and then went on to win two gold medals with the U.S. Women’s national team in 984 and 1988, and a third as a head coach at the 2008 Summer Games.
Donovan’s professional career began in Japan and Italy. In 1989, she returned to the U.S. and began her career as a coach, first as an assistant at Old Dominion and then as the head coach of East Carolina University from 1995 to 1998. She then went on to the WNBA, coaching the Seattle Storm to its first championship in 2004, and becoming the first female coach to win a WNBA title.