Donahue at Auburn in 1914
|Sport(s)||Football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track, soccer, golf|
June 14, 1876|
County Kerry, Ireland
|Died||December 11, 1960
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1931–1932||Spring Hill (assistant)|
|1935–?||Spring Hill (freshmen)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|1937–1948||LSU (intramural director)|
|Head coaching record|
|Overall||129–54–8 (football, excluding Spring Hill)
|Accomplishments and honors|
5 SIAA (1904, 1910, 1913, 1914, 1919)
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1951 (profile)
Michael Joseph "Iron Mike" Donahue (June 14, 1876 – December 11, 1960) was an American football player, coach of football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track, soccer, and golf, and a college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Auburn University (1904–1906, 1908–1922), at Louisiana State University (1923–1927), and at Spring Hill College (1934).
In 18 seasons coaching football at Auburn, Donahue amassed a record of 106–35–5 and had three squads go undefeated with four more suffering only one loss. His .743 career winning percentage is the second highest in Auburn history, surpassing notable coaches including John Heisman, Ralph "Shug" Jordan, Pat Dye, Terry Bowden, and Tommy Tuberville. He was inducted as a coach into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Donahue Drive in Auburn, Alabama, on which Jordan–Hare Stadium is located and the Tiger Walk takes place, is named in his honor, as is Mike Donahue Drive on the LSU campus.
Donahue also coached basketball (1905–1921), baseball, track, and soccer (1912–?) at Auburn and baseball (1925–1926) and tennis (1946–1947) at LSU.
Donahue was born in County Kerry, Ireland and attended Yale University. There he lettered in football, basketball, track and cross country. Donahue played as a substitute quarterback on the football team. He graduated in 1903.
Upon graduating college, Donahue became the tenth head coach of the Auburn Tigers football team beginning in 1904, the same year Vanderbilt hired Dan McGugin. His coaching career saw immediate success, as his first team went undefeated at 5–0. Donahue's Auburn teams won five Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, in 1904, 1910, 1913, 1914 and 1919. His 1913 and 1914 squads have been retroactively recognized as national champions by various selectors including Billingsley Report and the Howell Ratings. Donahue's 1913 and 1914 teams went undefeated, with the 1914 squad allowing zero points to be scored all year. From 1913 into 1915, Auburn went 22 consecutive games without a loss. Donahue's 1920 team averaged a then-school record 36.9 points per game. The 1922 team is considered one of the school's greatest.
Donahue also served as athletic director, basketball coach, baseball coach, track coach, and soccer coach while at Auburn. In 1905, Donahue initiated the school's first official varsity basketball team, which went 3–1–1, including victories over Georgia Tech and Tulane, a two-point loss to the Columbus (Georgia) All-Stars, and a tie with the Birmingham Athletic Club. Under Donahue, basketball practice was a contact sport; a former player once lamented, "He never bothered calling fouls--said it slowed up the game." In 1912, he coached Auburn's first soccer team. By the beginning of the 1915 season, Auburn was only playing athletic clubs and prep schools and had yet to participate in an intercollegiate match, due to a lack of soccer programs at other Southern colleges.
Donahue went on to become the seventeenth head football coach at LSU in 1923 and had a 23–19–3 record over five seasons before retiring from coaching after the 1927 season. He also served briefly as the head coach of the LSU Tigers baseball team (1925–1926), compiling a record of 15–15–3, and as the head men’s tennis coach at LSU (1946–1947), tallying a mark of 0–7.
- Eugene Caton: played for Auburn (1909–1911), head coach for Howard (1915).
- Moon Ducote: played for Auburn (1915–1917), head coach for Spring Hill (1919; 1921–1922), Loyola (1924–1925).
- Pat Dwyer, assistant for Auburn (1908), head coach for LSU (1911–1913), Toledo (1923–1925).
- Lew Hardage: played for Auburn (1908–1909), assistant for Vanderbilt (1922–1931), head coach at Mercer (1913), Oklahoma (1932–1934).
- Rip Major: played for Auburn (1910–1912), assistant for Clemson (1913), head coach for Wofford (1919; 1922–1926).
- George Penton: played for Auburn (1908–1909), assistant for Auburn (1913), head coach for Troy (1911–1912).
- Boozer Pitts: played for Auburn (1913–1914), assistant for Auburn (1919–1922; 1925–1927), head coach for Auburn (1923–1924).
- George B. Sparkman, Jr.: played for Auburn (1908), assistant for Florida (1919)
Head coaching record
|Auburn Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1904–1906)|
|Auburn Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1908–1921)|
|Auburn Tigers (Southern Conference) (1922)|
|LSU Tigers (Southern Conference) (1923–1927)|
- "Auburn Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
- Michael Donahue (1912). C. E. Sauls; C. W. Shelverton; J. K. Newell; H. W. Grady; W. B. Nickerson, eds. "Glomerata" (Annual). 15. Auburn, AL: Alabama Polytechnic Institute: 230. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "The Irish and the Making of American Sport, 1835-1920". google.com.
- cf. "Auburn's Gator Bowl Champs Rated Among Top Tiger Teams". Ocala Star-Banner. January 16, 1955.
- "Tradition, History, and Legend". Auburn Official Athletic Site. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
- "Mickey Logue and Jack Simms, Auburn: The Lovliest Village Photograph Collection, RG 798". Auburn University Libraries. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
- J. B. Overstreet; Carl Montgomery; Paul Bidez; Wilbur Littleton; Leonard Pearce; Victoria Steele, eds. (1915). "Glomerata" (Annual). 18. Auburn, AL: Alabama Polytechnic Institute: 192. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Spring Hill Now Finding Line-Up For Auburn Tilt". The Dothan Eagle. October 28, 1931. p. 3. Retrieved January 14, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Mike Donahue Coaches Again, St. Petersburg Times, Nov 14, 1934.