Skip to main content

Don Donoher

Class of 2007


Don Donoher

  • Don Donoher

Birthdate: January 21, 1932
High School: Toledo Central Catholic High School (1950)
College: University of Dayton (1954)
Died: April 12, 2024
Year Inducted: 2007

Don Donoher played high school basketball at Toledo Central Catholic High School from 1947-50. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1954, having played three years with the Flyers for Tom Blackburn. He appeared in 72 varsity games and scored 578 points, with 388 coming in his senior year. As a player at UD, he was on two NIT teams, named captain his senior year, and played on the 1952-53 team that upset #1 ranked Seton Hall. He scored the first basket of the game, scored on a three-point play that broke the 56-56 tie, and scored the final basket that insured what many consider to be the greatest win in field house history. After Coach Tom Blackburn’s sudden death in 1964, Don Donoher was named Head Coach. By February of 1984, Donoher passed Blackburn’s record, becoming Dayton’s winningest coach with 353 wins as Dayton won its 1,000th basketball game. He took his first three teams to the NCAA tournament, making him just one of ten coaches to do so. He is the only coach to have taken his alma mater to the championship game after appearing in the tournament as a player. He began his career with seven consecutive post-season appearances, including a second place finish in the 1967 NCAA tournament and the 1968 NIT championship. Only seven other coaches have done that.

He is in the Toledo Central Catholic Hall of Fame, the Toledo Area High School Hall of Fame, an Honorary Member of the OHSBCA Hall of Fame and the UD Hall of Fame. The addition to the University of Dayton Arena is named for him, featuring state-of-the-art locker rooms, training facilities and weight rooms.

Memorable events from Donoher’s career include playing UCLA for the national championship in 1967, winning the NIT in 1968, playing a triple overtime in the NCAA match-up with defending national champion UCLA in 1974, the milestone night in 1984 (winning the 1,000th game, becoming U.D.’s winningest coach and making the NCAA Midwest Regional Finals), serving with Bob Knight as an assistant Olympic coach on the 1984 gold medal-winning USA basketball team. Don Donoher was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.