SU Men’s Lacrosse Assistant Coach Kevin Donahue Retiring

Local Sports

Courtesy: Syracuse Athletics


One of the most impactful coaches in Syracuse University men’s lacrosse history, longtime assistant Kevin Donahue has announced his retirement after more than 30 years with the program to spend more time with his family.

“I am excited to spend more time with my family and grandchildren, as well as pursue other interests,” Donahue said. “This opportunity to be a volunteer coach allows for that and keeps me connected to the program.”

Donahue, a member of the Upstate New York Chapter of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame for his achievements as both a coach and student-athlete, is one of the most respected minds in the game, heavily contributing to Syracuse’s rise as the nation’s premier lacrosse power. Donahue will remain involved with the program on a volunteer basis and will continue to assist in the team’s summer camps.

“There aren’t enough words to describe what Kevin Donahue means to the Syracuse lacrosse program,” said Head Coach John Desko. “To me personally, Kevin has been a tremendous friend for more than 40 years, it’s been an honor to play and coach alongside him and I’m thrilled that Kevin will continue to be part of our program. His dedication to our program is unmatched and future generations of Syracuse lacrosse have been forever impacted by his work.”

“Syracuse men’s lacrosse wouldn’t be what it is today without Kevin Donahue’s contributions as a player and coach,” said Director of Athletics John Wildhack. “We are grateful that he will remain part of the program as a volunteer coach and wish him the best as he spends more time with his family.”

A national search will be conducted to find the assistant coach candidate best qualified to help contribute to the most successful men’s lacrosse program ever.

As a player, Donahue was one of the building blocks of the program’s run to 11 NCAA Championships. He was the first player under legendary head coach Roy Simmons Jr. to earn first-team All-America honors. Donahue earned All-America accolades three times (1977-79), including first-team recognition as a senior. Since Donahue, Syracuse players have earned All-America First Team nods 71 times, including many who Donahue coached.

As a coach, Donahue was on staff for 10 titles. He joined the program as a volunteer assistant coach in 1988 under Simmons Jr. Donahue’s addition to the staff, coupled with one of the most talented rosters in the game’s history, led to a dominant three-year stretch that included a combined 42-1 record and three NCAA Championships.

The success continued in future decades. A longtime physics teacher at his alma mater West Genesee, Donahue later served on the staff of the 1993, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2009 Syracuse teams to win national titles, as well.

The 2001 recipient of the Jay Gallagher Award as the nation’s top Division I assistant coach, Donahue coached all aspects of the game in his tenure with the program, most recently serving as the offensive coordinator, mentoring the faceoff specialists and organizing the team’s transition game.

Under his guidance, Syracuse has produced some of the top offensive players in the sport’s history. Among the student-athletes Donahue has mentored nine have earned induction in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, three won Tewaaraton Awards, six earned Lt. Raymond J. Enners Awards (nation’s top player), 11 won Lt. Col. Jack Turnbull Awards (nation’s top attackman), and seven earned Lt. Donald C. MacLaughlin Jr. Awards (nation’s top midfielder), in addition to 205 All-America honors, seven conference player of the year awards, and 12 200-point scorers.

His sons, Collin ’12 and Dylan ’16, and daughter, Riley ’18, were all standout players for the Orange lacrosse programs.

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