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Donovan will leave Liberty to coach Seton Hall

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Anne Donovan will leave the WNBA's Liberty to become the women's basketball coach at Seton Hall.

Patrick Hobbs, the university law school dean who is overseeing the athletic department, confirmed the hiring in an interview with the Star-Ledger of Newark.

"We're bringing one of the iconic figures of women's basketball to Seton Hall," Hobbs told The Star-Ledger. "We're excited and hopeful for the future of our women's basketball program."

It's uncertain whether Donovan will leave the Liberty immediately or coach during the upcoming WNBA season. When Michael Cooper left the Los Angeles Sparks to take over at USC, he coached the entire 2009 WNBA season.

Donovan replaces Phyllis Mangina, who resigned after posting a 9-21 record in her 25th season as Seton Hall's coach, including a 1-15 mark in the conference.

Donovan was named the head coach of the Liberty Dec. 3 after guiding the team to a 7-10 record as interim coach. She joined the team as an assistant in April 2009.

Donovan began her WNBA career as the interim head coach of the expansion Indiana Fever in 2000. She also coached the Charlotte Sting (2001-02) and the Seattle Storm (2003-07), winning the 2004 WNBA title.

She coached the United States to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and was an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning teams in 1998 and 2004.

Donovan won gold medals with the 1984 and 1988 Olympics teams.

She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and was one of the 26 inductees in the inaugural class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

After helping Old Dominion win consecutive AIAW national titles, Donovan started her coaching career as an assistant at her alma mater (1989-95) before taking the job at East Carolina (1995-98). She also was the head coach of the Philadelphia Rage in the former American Basketball League (ABL) in 1998.

The hiring of Donovan at the Big East school was first reported by The Record of Hackensack. Neither Donovan nor Hobbs returned telephone messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

- AP

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