When Matt Donohue was hired as the head coach of the CUA women’s basketball team, he vowed to turn the Cardinals into a championship-level program. After nine seasons at the helm, consider the mission accomplished. Donohue has guided Cardinals three Landmark Conference Titles (2011-12, 2012-13, and 2014-15), one ECAC championship (2013-14) and three 20+ win season, including 27 wins during the 2012-13 campaign. Now in his tenth season, Donohue is the winningest coach in program history (291) and his challenge now is to keep the Lady Cards on top.
During his tenure, Donohue has been on a mission to build the CUA women’s basketball program by recruiting and developing talented, driven student-athletes. Under his direction, the Cardinals have reflected Donohue’s philosophy that an exceptional work ethic, team chemistry and a commitment to academic and athletic excellence form the building blocks of a successful program.
As the Cardinals continue to grow as a program, Donohue continues to instill in his players the goal of being yearly contenders in the Landmark Conference while emphasizing the importance of academic excellence in the classroom. As a result of that emphasis, the Cardinals have continued their rise in the conference while maintaining an exceptional grade point average of 3.47 during Donohue’s tenure.
In the 2015-16 season, the Cardinals captured 17 wins under Donohue including the Landmark Conference semifinal game over Moravian for the team’s fourth championship game in five seasons.
The 2014-15 Cardinals finished their season with Donohue’s third conference title and a trip to the NCAA tournament in four years. The squad racked up a 19-9 overall record and went 11-5 in the Landmark Conference. As the No.2 seed, the Lady Cards took off for Scranton, Pa., to upset the No.1 seed, claiming the conference title.
2013-14 provided the program’s third 20+ win campaign under Donohue. By going 22-6 overall and 12-2 in the Landmark Conference, the Cardinals reached the Landmark Conference Semifinal. The Cardinals were the No. 1 seed in the ECAC Tournament. By beating Neumann, Washington & Jefferson, and McDaniel, the Cardinals took home the title.
The 2012-13 season produced one of the most dominating displays in Cardinal Women's Basketball history. The Cards were 27-2 with a 13-1 program-best 13 Landmark Conference wins. The home record for CUA was 15-1 and they were 9-1 on the road. The teams also started off the season with a 14-game win streak. The season came to an end in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, falling to Widener.
The 2011-12 season, Donohue led the Cardinals to 22 overall wins and 11 Landmark Conference victories. CUA became the first school in conference history to win a postseason game on the road, and Donohue’s squad did it twice, culminating with a win over No. 10 Juniata on February 25 to propel the Cards to their first conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance.
Three of Donohue’s student-athletes were named to the All-Landmark Conference Teams, including Jill Woerner, who also earned All-Region and ECAC All-Star accolades. Earlier in the season, Woerner became the 18th woman in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points.
CUA boasted one of the top defensive units in America last season, ranking 12th in field goal percentage defense (31.4) and 28th in scoring defense (51.6). The Cardinals were also 16th in rebound margin (+8.6) and led the Landmark Conference in all three categories.
In the classroom, 10 of Donohue’s student-athletes were named to the conference’s Academic Honor Roll.
2010-11 was a breakout year for Donohue and the Cardinals, as they won their most games since 2005-06 (19), qualified for the Landmark Conference Tournament for the first time ever and advanced all the way to the ECAC championship game for the first time in school annals. Other highlights included a 70-37 victory over Division II Washington Adventist and the program's first-ever win at Moravian, which came on February 4.
Woerner was CUA's top individual performer on the year, ranking in the top-10 of the Landmark Conference in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, steals, and blocks. For her efforts, Woerner earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team as well as the All-Region Third Team.
Off the court Donohue's team continued to impress, boasting a grade point average of 3.447, which was 22nd best among all NCAA Division III institutions. In addition, eight of his student-athletes were named to the conference's Academic Honor Roll and Katarina Owunna was selected to the Landmark Conference All-Academic Team.
Under Donohue's guidance in 2009-10, the Cards ranked third in the Landmark Conference in scoring, second in three-point shooting, third in steals and third in defensive rebounding. Additional highlights included a team trip to Ireland during the summer of 2009, an exhibition game at ACC power University of Maryland on November 10, 2009, a thrilling 73-71 victory over Juniata College on January 8, 2010, a dominating 76-46 victory over Division II Washington Adventist University on December 1, 2009, and the stellar performance of Woerner who earned Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year Honors.
A Philadelphia area native, Donohue came to CUA after a five-year stint at Elmira College in upstate New York. During his tenure at EC, Donohue led the Soaring Eagles to four top-four finishes and three post-season berths in five years.
In 2006-07, Donohue led the Purple and Gold to 21 victories, while setting a new school record for most consecutive wins with 13. That year, the squad also earned their way to the Empire 8 Championship game and went into the ECAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed.
In 2005-06 Donohue lead the Soaring Eagles to 19 victories, a berth to the Empire 8 Championship game, and a berth in the ECAC Championship game en route to being named Empire 8 Coach of the Year, as well as, NYSWCAA, (New York State Women’s Coaches Association), Coach of the Year.
Prior to his arrival at Elmira, Donohue served as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at regionally and nationally ranked, Bloomfield College (Division II). In 2000, Donohue took over a Bloomfield College program that had suffered through four straight losing seasons and failed to make the post-season conference tournament in each of those seasons.
During his tenure at Bloomfield, Donohue returned the Lady Deacons to the national spotlight. From 2001–2003, his Bloomfield teams compiled a record of 47 – 37 and earned two Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Post- Season Tournament appearances, including an appearance in the 2003 CACC Tournament Championship.
In addition to his basketball duties at Bloomfield, Donohue also served as the Head Men’s Cross-Country Coach. During his run as the head coach, his teams garnered several honors including the 2002 Baruch Invitational Team Championship, 2002 New Jersey Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) Montclair Team Championship, 2002 Wagner Invitational Runner-Up, and the programs first ever trip to the NCAA East Regional Championships.
Donohue graduated from Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey in 1994, and began his coaching career at North Arlington High School in North Arlington, New Jersey. He guided North Arlington to two conference championships and earned two Coach of the Year honors in four seasons. In 1997, he began a three-year stint as the Head Girl’s Coach at Mt. Olive High School in Mt. Olive, New Jersey, where he helped revive the Mt. Olive program.
Donohue resides in Gambrills, Md., with his wife Laurie, sons Ryan and Brayden and their daughter Emma.