Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan coaches against the Brooklyn...

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan coaches against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, on Thursday, Feb 9, 2023. Credit: Brad Penner

Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan Jr. will headline a class of 37 inductees into the Nassau County High School Hall of Fame on Thursday night at a banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Donovan was born and raised in Rockville Centre and graduated from St. Agnes High School, where he was a Newsday All-Long Island basketball selection in 1983. He was drafted out of Providence in the third round (68th overall) by the Utah Jazz in 1987 and, after being waived, signed with the Knicks and played 44 games with the franchise during the 1987-88 season before starting his coaching career.

Donovan has 502 collegiate wins, including 467 in 19 years at the University of Florida, where he led the Gators to the NCAA title in 2006 and 2007.

Before joining the Bulls in 2020, Donovan was the coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

“It doesn’t get any better than Billy Donovan,” said Pat Pizzarelli, executive director of Section VIII, which governs Nassau high school sports. “We have some legendary old-timers in this year’s Hall of Fame class.”

The Class of 2023 includes athletes, coaches, officials and contributors. It features three coaches who are still active. Rob Shaver, who serves as the wrestling and football coach at Plainedge, led the Red Devils to six Nassau titles and two Long Island Class III football championships. Tom Sheedy Jr., who has coached for 45 years, turned the Massapequa baseball program into a powerhouse, winning 352 games and multiple state and Long Island crowns. Kevin Shippos was a standout wrestler and football player at Baldwin who won three Nassau wrestling titles and one state crown. He currently coaches Massapequa football.

“I’m honored to be inducted alongside some of the finest athletes, coaches and contributors to Nassau County high school athletics,” Shippos said.

Long distance runner Emily Rose Lipari of Roslyn was a high school state champion and was an 11-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion at Villanova. MacArthur’s Annie Park was forced to play on the boys golf team because there was no girls team. It didn’t matter she became the top golfer in Nassau, beating all the boys to capture the county title. A year later, she won the NCAA women’s golf championship.

“There are still a few seats available to have dinner and enjoy all the great stories,” said Justin Jonas, the assistant executive director of Section VIII.

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