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For Immediate Release: March 19, 2001

Contact: Steven Schultz, (609) 258-5729

Longtime Princeton coach Edward Donovan dies

Princeton, N.J. -- Edward Donovan, 91, a longtime coach with Princeton University, died Thursday at home in Princeton.

Over a period of 55 years, Donovan coached baseball, football and basketball and taught squash, tennis and golf. He continued to work with student athletes until he was 88.

"Ed Donovan was a terrific leader," said Gary Walters, director of athletics at Princeton. "He was a man of few words, but of great character. By his actions, he spoke volumes."

Walters said Donovan inspired others with his versatility.

"Most of us, as we get older, suffer from psychslerosis -- I'm inventing words -- a hardening of the attitudes," said Walters. "Eddie continued to grow as a person in his retirement in ways that continue to influence Princetonians far and wide. He was the antithesis of the specialist -- he was multi-dimensional. He was in contact with the great figures in Princeton's sports history."

Donovan was born in Newport, R.I., and graduated from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., in 1932.

He first taught at Rogers High School in Newport, where he was an assistant coach of three sports. He joined the Navy in 1942 and graduated from the Officer's Commission School at Harvard University in 1943.

The same year, he was placed in charge of athletics in the Navy V12 program at Princeton University, where he assisted the coaches of the football, baseball and basketball teams. He was the head baseball coach from 1952 to 1975. He also coached the junior varsity football and freshman basketball teams and scouted for the varsity basketball team during his tenure. In addition, he taught squash, tennis and golf with the

University's physical education department from 1946 to 1998. In collaboration with his wife, he wrote a book about his experiences at the University titled "My 55 Years at Princeton," which was published last year.

Donovan enjoyed golf and was a member of Springdale Golf Club. He was a member of the Nassau Club and St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church.

The son of the late John and Mary Donovan, he is survived by his wife, Betty Whelan Donovan; a brother, Leo Donovan of Newport; two nieces, Joan Seander of Jamestown, R.I., and Paula Shea of Winter Haven, Fla.; two nephews, Leo Donovan Jr. of Stamford, Conn., and Gerald Donovan of Newport; and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Burial will be in Newport. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Princeton University Chapel followed by a reception on the Princeton campus. There will be a tribute to Donovan at the Columbia-Princeton baseball game at 1 p.m. that same day.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Edward Donovan Baseball Fund, Princeton University Athletics Department, Princeton, NJ 08544, or to the Hospice Program at the Medical Center at Princeton, 208 Bunn Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Funeral arrangements are by Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.