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Sue Donohoe, ex-director of NCAA basketball tournaments, dies at 61

Sue Donohoe, who died Sunday, served as an assistant women's basketball coach at Stephen F. Austin State University before her tenure as an NCAA administrator. Photo courtesy of Hardy Meredith/SFASU Marketing Communications
Sue Donohoe, who died Sunday, served as an assistant women's basketball coach at Stephen F. Austin State University before her tenure as an NCAA administrator. Photo courtesy of Hardy Meredith/SFASU Marketing Communications

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Sue Donohoe, the former director of the men's and women's college basketball tournaments, has died. She was 61.

The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame announced Donohoe's death Sunday and said she died after a brief, "non-COVID-19 related" illness.

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"We are deeply saddened at the loss of our friend, mentor and vital member of the women's basketball community, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame president Dana Hart said in a news release.

"Sue's love of basketball and her attention to detail, hard work and administrative excellence will forever be remembered."

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Donohoe is an inductee in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2021. The Pineville, La., native will be inducted as a contributor to the game June 12 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Donohoe worked for nearly a dozen years as an administrator at the NCAA national office. She became director of the Division I women's basketball championship in 1999 and assumed the same role in 2002 for the men's tournament.

In 2003, she became the vice president of Division I women's basketball.

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Donohoe worked as an assistant and the associate commissioner of the Southland Conference before her tenure with the NCAA. She also served as the associate director of athletics at Arkansas, where she served as assistant coach for the women's basketball team.

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She also worked as an assistant women's basketball coach at Stephen F. Austin State University. Donohoe began her career as a graduate assistant in 1981 at Louisiana Tech.

"Sue Donohoe spent her life working to grow and support the game of women's basketball, starting with her time as a college athlete and continuing through her work as a coach, campus and conference office administrator, and leadership role at the national office," said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of women's basketball.

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"She has had an enduring impact in supporting college athletes and women in sports. We are devastated by the loss of a titan in our game and we extend our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones."

Donohoe left the NCAA in 2011 to become the executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. She retired from that job in 2015.

"Her legacy will live on in the multitude of lives she touched," the Kay Yow Cancer Fund tweeted Sunday. "Countless women on the basketball court, in the boardroom, and in the fight against cancer are finding success on Sue's shoulders. We will miss you, Sue."

Notable deaths of 2020

Richard Thornburgh
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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