Feb. 21, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mel Greenberg
215-815-5943
WBCA Executive Director honored with service award
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DONEHEW TO RECEIVE 2018
MARY JO HAVERBECK AWARD

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Back in 2013 when Danielle M. Donehew was riding the transition as associate commissioner over women's basketball in the old Big East to the start in a similar role with the then brand new American Athletic Conference, at the organization's first media day, very high in her opening remarks was a promise and request to the gathering about working together and growing the game.

Danielle Donehew

Since then, she has gone on to other roles, primarily as executive director of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and also currently as president of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Knoxville, Tenn.

In all these position, when Donehew's name comes up in conversation, the one phrase likely to be uttered many times is "media friendly."

It is that specific trait that has earned her the recipient of the 2018 United States Basketball Writers Association Mary Jo Haverbeck Award.

The Mary Jo Haverbeck Award is named for the pioneering Penn State women's sports information, herself a USBWA member, who passed away in January of 2014 after a short illness.

Having worked 25 years for the university until 1999, she was the first official to publicize PSU women's sports teams and served as a mentor for students interested in pursuing a career in athletic communications or the media.

It is the equivalent to the Katha Quinn Award given out on the men's side.

In working all these jobs which involves interaction with the media, Donehew has been instrumental in making sure media needs are helped and served. She has also made it a part of her job to urge continued cooperation between WBCA members of the coaching community and the beat writers who cover their teams.

"I'm thrilled she's being honored with this award," said George Washington coach Jen Rizzotti, a former UConn star who is the current president of the WBCA. "I think it is very deserving."

"She's friendly and helpful. Her number one goal consistently is to promote women's basketball, promote the coaches in the game, and continue to help us grow. So I can't think of anyone more deserving at this time in our game right now."

When major announcements have had to be made, Donehew has been helpful to get the word and release in the hands of appropriate media members so we are prepared to roll with our stories once the embargo is lifted.

"Thank you to our friends at the United States Basketball Writers Association for recognizing me with the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award," Donehew said upon receiving the news of her selection.

"I am proud of the strong relationship between the USBWA and WBCA. Our community of coaches appreciates the important role the media has played and continues to play in chronicling the game of women's basketball in real time throughout its history.

"We are thankful for everything you do to promote our sport."

Donehew, a native of Atlanta and former women's star at Georgia Tech, has also worked several seasons with the WNBA's Atlanta Dream and was a director of operations on the staff of the late Tennessee Hall of Fame legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.

She is also an official of the Pat Summitt Foundation.

Says John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant, who was the beat writer for the University of Connecticut women when Donehew was with The American, "There was always one thing you could count on when Danielle was working for the AAC and that was she would always make herself available if a question needed to be asked - and she would do her best, even if it was touchy or controversial, to give you an honest answer.

"Those of us who have covered women's basketball for a long period of time really depend on on those like Danielle to help us tell the stories that should help to grow the game. I am really happy for her and consider her deserving of any award she may receive for as long as her career carries on."

Jack Watford, the WBCA Communications director notes, "I have worked for a lot of people and have never seen anyone like Danielle who is ready to engage and to talk to anyone, anytime, anyplace."

Donehew will receive her award during the Women's Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, at the Nationwide Arena.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.