Dan Patrick: Don Donoher a ‘wonderful man and wonderful coach’

Sports radio show host tells story from his UD years

Credit: Scott Halleran

Credit: Scott Halleran

Dan Patrick Show listeners took a tour down memory lane Tuesday as the 1979 University of Dayton grad Patrick told the story of why he never tried to walk on to the UD basketball team.

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Patrick, the former ESPN and NBC sportscaster and longtime sports radio host, was a big scorer at Mason High School who saw limited playing time in two years at Eastern Kentucky University before transferring to Dayton.

On his radio show, Patrick said UD wouldn’t let him walk onto the team.

“They didn’t take transfers at the time,” he said.

In 1981, when Patrick’s dad, John “Jack” Pugh, died, the whole Dayton basketball team attended the funeral along with coach Don Donoher, who Patrick called a wonderful man and wonderful coach. Patrick’s dad worked in UD’s computer department for 12 years. He was 54 when he died.

“This was one of the stranger days I’ve ever had in my life,” said Patrick, who changed his last name from Pugh to his middle name Patrick early in his career. “My father has just passed away. My sister was a cheerleader. The entire team comes to my dad’s funeral. At that point, Don Donoher, the great coach at Dayton, says to me, ‘I should have let you play.’ I know it’s a strange moment to say that. I was always appreciative because I thought I could play.”

» FAMILY HISTORY: Patrick one of six siblings to have graduated from UD

Patrick did play against some of the Flyers on campus.

“Whenever I played against guys who were on the team, I wanted to torch them so badly,” he said. “I wanted to crush those guys.”

Patrick admitted he wasn’t the best shooter on campus. That was Jack Zimmerman, who scored 1,482 points in a career that ended in 1980.

Patrick also admitted he wasn’t in the same league as Jim Paxson, a fellow 1979 graduate who ranks fifth in UD history with 1,945 points.

“He was the real deal,” Patrick said. “Jim Paxson was a great, great player.”

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