Bob Donewald

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For his son and the head coach of the Iowa Energy, see Bob Donewald, Jr..
Bob Donewald
Sport(s) Men's basketball
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1978–1989
1989–2000
Illinois State
Western Michigan
Accomplishments and honors
Awards
MAC Coach of the Year (1992)

Bob Donewald, Sr. is a retired American college basketball coach. He was the first coach to lead Illinois State University to the NCAA post-season national tournament, and he did so for three consecutive seasons. His 1983 team gave Illinois State its first Missouri Valley Conference basketball championship and his 1984 team captured Illinois State's first Division I NCAA Tournament victory.

Donewald was an assistant coach under longtime Indiana University coach Bobby Knight,[1] and was a member of the Hoosiers staff in 1976 when Indiana went undefeated and won the national title.[2] In 1978, Donewald was hired as the new head coach of the Illinois State Redbirds, replacing Gene Smithson. In Donewald's second season, the Redbirds qualified for the NIT's post-season tournament, and then, in 1983, the Redbirds entered March Madness for the first time in their history by winning the Missouri Valley Conference post-season tournament.

Donewald's Redbirds also qualified for the NCAA tournament the next two seasons.[3] Donewald's success was parlayed into a student referendum to build a new arena to replace Horton Field House, in use from 1963-1988.[citation needed] Redbird Arena was approved, and was built mostly from student fees collected over the next twenty years. Donewald began to acquire a national reputation,[citation needed] and in 1982 turned down an opportunity to coach the Wisconsin Badgers.[citation needed]

However, Donewald's ISU teams relied upon a slow moving game, similar to a four corners offense.[citation needed] With the introduction of the shot clock in the mid-1980s, Donewald's strategies and his teams began to suffer. In 1989, after failing to replicate his earlier successes, Donewald was fired by ISU.[4] He was immediately hired as coach of the Western Michigan University Broncos, where he coached until 2000. In the 1997–98 season—his third season as head coach at WMU—the Broncos qualified for the NCAA tournament, where they advanced to the second round before being eliminated. In 1992, Donewald was named Coach of the Year for the Mid-American Conference.[5] But Donewald was unable to get the Broncos back to the NCAA again, and was fired in 2000.[6]

Donewald today lives with his wife of over 40 years in their Kalamazoo home, where he does consulting work for several college and pro teams. He also works occasionally as a color analyst.[7] His son, Bob Donewald, Jr., is currently the head coach of the Iowa Energy.

References[edit]