Longtime NCAA administrator Sue Donohoe will stepped down at the end of November from her position as vice president of Division I women’s basketball championships and alliances, the organization announced Wednesday morning.
Donohoe, a native of Louisiana, has held the position for 12 years, helping shape the women’s championship system. She was previously director of the women’s and men’s basketball championships, joining the NCAA office in 1999.
“From the time I was a graduate assistant coach when the Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech won the first-ever NCAA Women’s Final Four in 1982 until this day, I have tried to give the best of who I am to this game, for which I have the utmost respect,” Donohoe said in a released statement. “I have experienced this championship as a coach and administrator and hope I have contributed to its growth in my role at the NCAA.”
Donohoe (pictured right) served on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association board and was thought of as an advocate by its CEO Beth Bass, who’s also a close friend of Donohoe. Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves also served on the WBCA board with Donohoe.
“Under Sue’s leadership, collegiate women’s basketball has enjoyed unprecedented growth,” Bass said in a released statement. “Her commitment to openness ‘de-mystified’ many NCAA processes and helped administrators, coaches and media alike gain a greater understanding of the NCAA’s policies and procedures. Her positive impact on the entire culture of women’s basketball – from USA Basketball, to playing rules, to mock bracketing, to the WBCA – is immeasurable.”
The NCAA tournament has grown to 64 teams, record television ratings and seen slightly more parity among the field. But women’s college basketball remains a non-revenue sport as a whole with stark distinctions between administrators who are will to invest in the sport as the leader of women’s athletics on campuses and those who are not.
Because of the continued struggle and odd timing of Donohoe’s resignation occurring the week before a new season begins, Bass felt the need to calm any possible concerns that Donohoe’s resignation had anything to do with the future of women’s basketball. In her NCAA statement, Donohoe said it’s due to personal and family reasons.
“I have spoken with (NCAA) President (Mark) Emmert and he assures me Sue’s decision to step down is not a reflection on where our sport is,” Bass said in her statement. “He remains steadfast in his commitment to promoting and growing women’s basketball and I know he will replace Sue with an equally strong leader and advocate for our sport.”