ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Former University of Dayton basketball
coach Don Donoher has been named the winner of this
year's Dean Smith Award given annually by the
U.S. Basketball Writers Association to an individual
in college basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the
late North Carolina coach.
Donoher will be presented with the award at a dinner in Dayton
on Dec. 13. Washington Post sportswriter John Feinstein, a past
president of the USBWA and the person who suggested creating an
award honoring Smith, will present the award to Donoher.
"Don Donoher was a great basketball coach, but has always been
a better person," Feinstein said. "At a time in college basketball
when we're looking for people we can respect and admire unconditionally,
Coach Donoher remains to this day a beacon of class, dignity and
"I can't think of anyone who personifies the qualities that made
Dean Smith a great man more than "Mick" Donoher. Coach Smith would
be very proud to have Don's name on the award in his honor."
Donoher is the third person to receive the Dean Smith Award.
Former Georgetown coach John Thompson was the first recipient in
2015, followed by Michigan State coach Tom Izzo last year.
"I am honored to receive this award," Donoher said. "It has special
meaning to me with Coach Smith's name on it. On a couple occasions,
I went to visit with Dean to pick his brain."
Coaches selected for the award are recognized for more than just
their success in basketball. They are chosen for their principles
of honesty and integrity, for treating all people with courtesy
and respect, for accomplishments off the court, and for the impact
they have made on their community and the lives of their players.
"Don Donoher exemplifies the reason we have the Dean Smith Award,"
said USBWA president Vahe Gregorian, sports columnist for The Kansas
City Star. "Not only in terms of his distinguished career on the
court but also because of his commitment to his community and forever
making a difference in his players' lives."
In 2016, Donoher was inducted into the Dayton Region Walk of
Fame for having a positive impact in the community. He has served
as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and was chairperson for
its 100th anniversary fundraising drive.
He has been a volunteer basketball coach at Bishop Fenwick High
School in Middleton, Oh. He remains very supportive of his local
parish and gives back to the university, both of his time and with
Donoher retired in 1989 after 25 years as Dayton's head coach
with 437 career victories, the most in UD history.
He led Dayton to nine NCAA tournament appearances, a NIT championship
in 1968 and a runner-up finish in the 1967 NCAA championship game
against UCLA. He played for the Flyers from 1951-1954 and became
the first coach to take his alma mater to the NCAA championship
game after appearing in the tournament as a player.
Donoher was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball
Hall of Fame in 2015. In 1998, Dayton honored Donoher by naming
an addition to the UD Arena after him.
Net proceeds from the dinner will benefit UD's Champions and
Scholars Fund and the Dean E. Smith Opening Doors Fund, which provides
scholarships for undergraduates from lower-income families to attend
college and for professionals in education and social work to pursue
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 an All-America
team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA
and the Dean Smith Award, contact executive director Joe Mitch at