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Thursday, April 17, 2003
Donohue won 71 straight games at Power Memorial
Associated Press


OTTAWA -- Jack Donohue, the high school coach of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and for years the face of Canadian basketball, died at 70.

He died of cancer Wednesday in Ottawa, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport said Thursday.

Donohue coached Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, at Power Memorial Academy in New York and had a record of 163-30, including 71 straight wins, from 1959 to 1965.

He was the coach at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., from 1965 to 1972 and had a record of 106-66.

The New Yorker came to Canada in the 1970s and established a national program from scratch. Donohue served as head coach of the Canadian men's basketball for 17 years and was the longest-serving head coach in amateur or professional sports in Canada.

He led the team to the Olympics four times and won the gold medal at the 1983 World University Games in Edmonton. Donohue coached Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 1976 and '84 Olympics.

Donohue, who was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame, retired from coaching in 1988. He then gave motivational speeches that drew large crowds in Canada.

"We traded lots of notes during the year,'' said Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, the coach who split with the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. "He was a tremendous guy . . . it's a tremendous loss.''

On Tuesday, the Raptors honored Donohue for his commitment to Canadian basketball.

"There could have been no finer person than Jack Donohue,'' Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald said. "Coach Donohue deserves this honor not only for his tremendous accomplishments in the basketball world, but for his great contributions off the court in communities through Canada.''

Jay Triano was one of Donohue's most successful players. He is now coach of Canada's national team and is an assistant with the Raptors.

"He would demand that we, as 18- or 19-year-olds, were polite to people all the time,'' Triano said. "You always thanked the bus driver. We would laugh and say, `Coach, the bus driver doesn't even speak English.' He would say, `No, but you know what, he knows what thank you means.'''

Donohue lived in Kanata, Ontario. His funeral is Tuesday in Ottawa.





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