Don Donoher and Anthony Grant hug after his introductory press conference Saturday at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Donoher to receive Dean Smith Award

Former Dayton coach third coach to win honor, following John Thompson and Tom Izzo

The award, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, annually honors “an individual in college basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the late North Carolina coach.”

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Donoher coached against Smith in the NCAA tournament in 1967. The Flyers won 76-62 at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Smith coached the Tar Heels from 1961-97.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Donoher, 85, said in a statement. “It has special meaning to me with Coach Smith’s name on it. On a couple occasions, I went to visit with Dean to pick his brain.”

Former USBWA President John Feinstein called Donoher a great coach and better person.

"At a time in college basketball when we're looking for people we can respect and admire unconditionally, Coach Donoher remains to this day a beacon of class, dignity and hope,” Feinstein said in a press release. "I can't think of anyone who personifies the qualities that made Dean Smith a great man more than "Mick" Donoher. Coach Smith would be very proud to have Don's name on the award in his honor."

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The award was created in 2015 and previously honored former Georgetown coach John Thompson and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

Donoher coached the Flyers for 25 seasons, retiring in 1989 with 437 career victories.

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