From outstanding college football quarterback, to national championship winning college football coach, and now as a leading college football analyst, Coach Jim Donnan has been leading, teaching and motivating people in many different capacities for forty years.
Jim Donnan started as a multi-sports star in high school; earning All-State honors in both football and basketball while also winning the state singles championship in tennis. His highly competitive nature coupled with his intense work ethic was evident as a child, and has continued throughout his entire career.
As the starting quarterback for North Carolina State University from 1965-67, Jim Donnan led the Wolfpack to many great wins, including a victory over Georgia in the 1967 Liberty Bowl where he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year in 1967, and was selected to the ACC All-Academic team in both 1966 and 1967.
Coach Donnan’s coaching career began at his alma mater in 1969 when he was hired as the head coach of the freshman team and varsity quarterback coach, and by 1971 was calling the plays for the Wolfpack offense.
From 1972-73, Donnan was the offensive backfield coach at Florida State University. During this period he met and coached with, now lifelong friend, Bill Parcells.
Coach Donnan made the move to his old rival school, North Carolina, and served as the chief recruiter and offensive backfield coach on Bill Dooley’s staff from 1974-77. The Tarheels earned three bowl bids in his four years there.
Donnan moved on to Kansas State from 1978-80, and then to the University of Missouri from 1981-84 where he served as both the quarterbacks coach and receivers coach. During his four years there, every receiver that started for four years was either drafted or signed as a free agent in professional football.
Barry Switzer and the University of Oklahoma came calling, and Coach Donnan served as the offensive coordinator for the Sooners from 1985-89. They won 49 games in those five years, including the national championship in 1985. Donnan’s offenses at Oklahoma consistently ranked first or second in the nation in rushing offense, scoring offense and/or total offense.
After serving as an assistant coach for 21 years, Coach Donnan was hired as the head coach for the Marshall University Thundering Herd. As the architect of Oklahoma’s high-powered offenses of the 1980’s, Donnan turned the Thundering Herd into the Division I-AA team of the 1990’s. His teams were among the nation’s top ten in scoring offense, scoring defense and special teams play every single year. Coach Donnan had the unique opportunity to coach his own son, Todd, who played quarterback for Marshall and tied for second in the nation in passing efficiency in 1994.
Coach Donnan had an unbelievable record at Marshall:
•Won 64 Games in six seasons (58 from 91-95)
•Earned five consecutive trips to the post-season playoffs
•Had three national runner-up finishes (1991, 93, 95)
•One National Championship – 1992
•Had a 15-4 record in playoff games (2nd best in Division I-AA history)
•Two-Time Division I-AA Coach of the Year (1992, 95)
On Christmas Day in 1995, Coach Donnan received the phone call from University of Georgia Athletic Director Vince Dooley asking him to become the 24th head coach in the 103-year history of the Georgia Bulldogs. Donnan’s career at Georgia from 1996-2000 was marked by successes both on the field and off.
The Georgia football team hadn’t won more than six games since 1992, and under Coach Donnan they returned to the upper echelon in the SEC by winning 35 games from 1997-2000. Coach Donnan’s record of winning eight games or more in four straight seasons set a school record. Donnan also led the Bulldogs to four consecutive post-season Bowl wins.
Coach Donnan is undefeated as a head coach in bowl games, and has a 19-4 overall record in post-season play. His 104 victories as a head coach from 1990-2000 was four best among all current Division I head coaches in the country. Only Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier won more games during that time. Donnan was named the 1997 SEC Coach of the Year, and was a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year award.
The University of Georgia finished in the top 20 in the nation for each of the 1997-2000 seasons, while setting home game attendance records. During his tenure there, Coach Donnan re-established the recruiting base, engineered a $2 million weight room/training room expansion, and helped develop the plan for an upcoming indoor practice facility.
Throughout his career, Donnan coached 231 players drafted into the NFL including Champ Bailey, Hines Ward and Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Keith Jackson. He was selected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Now as a leading college football analyst for American Sports Network, Coach Donnan imparts his incredible experience and knowledge of the game on television, radio and in print.
As a speaker, Jim Donnan brings a lifetime of leadership, amazing stories and insight into what it takes to be successful to many different types of groups around the country.