Donoher began his career as a basketball player at Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio from 1947-1950. He played three years of varsity basketball for coach Tom Blackburn at the University of Dayton, scoring 578 career points in 72 games. Following graduation from Dayton in 1954, Donoher served a two-year enlistment in the United States Army. Returning to Dayton after the end of his service, Donoher accepted a part-time basketball scout position offered by Blackburn. In February 1963, Blackburn made Donoher the University's first full-time assistant coach.
Blackburn had been suffering from cancer for most of the 1963-64 season. When the disease's effects became too debilitating for him to continue, Donoher took over as interim coach for the last three games of the season. In March 1964, Blackburn died from cancer, and Donoher was formally named his successor. However, Dayton credits the entire 1963-64 season to Blackburn.
Head coaching experience
Donoher enjoyed immediate success as a head coach, going 22-7 in his inaugural season and guiding the Flyers to a berth in the NCAA tournament, reaching the Sweet Sixteen . Two years later, Donoher's Flyers defeated Western Kentucky University, the University of Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and the University of North Carolina en route to a national runner-up finish in the NCAA tournament . During his tenure at Dayton, Donoher guided the Flyers to the NCAA tournament eight times, reaching the Sweet Sixteen five times, the Elite Eight twice, and the national final once . Additionally, Dayton played in seven NIT post-season competitions under Donoher, winning the championship in 1968 . Donoher is Dayton's all-time winningest coach with a 437-275 record (.614), including a 20-16 post season record (.556). Donoher-coached teams were noted for their discipline, tenacity, and sound fundamentals, frequently besting teams with greater athleticism. Bobby Knight invited Donoher to serve as an assistant on the gold medal winning U.S. men's basketball team at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.
Awards and recognition
Coach Donoher has been inducted into the Toledo Area High School Hall of Fame, the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the University of Dayton Hall of Fame . In 1998, the University of Dayton named the new state of the art addition to the University of Dayton Arena after their former coach.
Don Donoher now lives in Dayton, Ohio and assists Pat Kreke in coaching at Bishop Fenwick High School in Middletown, Ohio where his grandchildren, Kevin and Shannon went to school.
Head coaching record
|Dayton Flyers (Independent) (1964–1989)|
|1964-1965||Dayton||22-7||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1965-1966||Dayton||23-6||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1968-1969||Dayton||20-7||NCAA 1st Round|
|1969-1970||Dayton||19-8||NCAA 1st Round|
|1970-1971||Dayton||18-9||NCAA 1st Round|
|1973-1974||Dayton||20-9||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1978-1979||Dayton||19-10||NIT 2nd Round|
|1980-1981||Dayton||18-11||NIT 2nd Round|
|1981-1982||Dayton||21-9||NIT 3rd Round|
|1983-1984||Dayton||21-11||NCAA Elite 8|
|1984-1985||Dayton||19-10||NCAA 1st Round|
|1985-1986||Dayton||17-13||NIT 1st Round|
|Dayton Flyers (MCC) (1988–1989)|