Mike Donahue

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Mike Donahue
Michael Joseph Donahue 1914 Glomerata Auburn University.jpg
Donahue at Auburn in 1914
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track, soccer, golf
Biographical details
Born (1876-06-14)June 14, 1876
County Kerry, Ireland
Died December 11, 1960(1960-12-11) (aged 84)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Playing career
1899–1903 Yale
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1904–1906 Auburn
1908–1922 Auburn
1923–1927 LSU
1934 Spring Hill
1935–? Spring Hill (freshmen)
1905–1921 Auburn
1925–1926 LSU
1946–1947 LSU
1944–1945 LSU
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1929–1936 Spring Hill
1937–1948 LSU (intramural director)
Head coaching record
Overall 129–54–8 (football, excluding Spring Hill)
72–81 (basketball)
15–15–3 (baseball)
0–7 (tennis)
Accomplishments and honors
5 SIAA (1904, 1910, 1913–1914, 1919)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1951 (profile)

Michael Joseph "Iron Mike" Donahue (June 14, 1876 – December 11, 1960) was an American football player, coach of football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track, soccer, and golf, and a college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Auburn University (1904–1906, 1908–1922), at Louisiana State University (1923–1927), and at Spring Hill College (1934). Donahue also coached basketball (1905–1921), baseball, track, and soccer (1912–?)[1] at Auburn and baseball (1925–1926) and tennis (1946–1947) at LSU. He was inducted as a coach into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Donahue Drive in Auburn, Alabama, on which Jordan–Hare Stadium is located and the Tiger Walk takes place, is named in his honor.

Early life

Donahue was born in County Kerry, Ireland and attended Yale University. There he lettered in football, basketball, track and cross country. Donahue played as a sub quarterback on the football team. He graduated in 1903.[2]

Coaching career



Upon graduating college, Donahue became the tenth head coach of the Auburn Tigers football team beginning in 1904. His coaching career saw immediate success, as his first team went undefeated at 5–0. Donahue's Auburn teams won five Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, in 1904, 1910, 1913, 1914 and 1919. His 1913 and 1914 squads have been retroactively recognized as national champions by various selectors including Billingsley Report and the Howell Ratings. Donahue's 1913 and 1914 teams went undefeated,[3] with the 1914 squad allowing zero points to be scored all year. From 1913 into 1915, Auburn went 22 consecutive games without a loss. Donahue's 1920 team averaged a then-school record 36.9 points per game. The 1922 team is considered one of the school's greatest.[4]

In 18 seasons coaching football at Auburn, Donahue amassed a record of 106–35–5 and had three squads go undefeated with four more suffering only one loss. His .743 career winning percentage is the second highest in Auburn history, surpassing notable coaches including John Heisman, Ralph "Shug" Jordan, Pat Dye, Terry Bowden, and Tommy Tuberville.[5]

Donahue also served as athletic director, basketball coach, baseball coach, track coach, and soccer coach while at Auburn.[6] In 1905, Donahue initiated the school's first official varsity basketball team, which went 3–1–1, including victories over Georgia Tech and Tulane, a two-point loss to the Columbus (Georgia) All-Stars, and a tie with the Birmingham Athletic Club. Under Donahue, basketball practice was a contact sport; a former player once lamented, "He never bothered calling fouls--said it slowed up the game."[7] In 1912, he coached Auburn's first soccer team.[1] By the beginning of the 1915 season, Auburn was only playing athletic clubs and prep schools and had yet to participate in an intercollegiate match, due to a lack of soccer programs at other Southern colleges.[8]


Donahue went on to become the seventeenth head football coach at LSU in 1923 and had a 23–19–3 record over five seasons before retiring from coaching after the 1927 season. He also served briefly as the head coach of the LSU Tigers baseball team (1925–1926), compiling a record of 15–15–3, and as the head men’s tennis coach at LSU (1946–1947), tallying a mark of 0–7.

Spring Hill

In 1934, Donahue reentered the coaching ranks at Spring Hill College, where he mentored his son, Mike, Jr.[9]

Coaching tree

  • Eugene Caton: played for Auburn (1909–1911), head coach for Howard (1915).
  • Moon Ducote: played for Auburn (1915–1917), head coach for Spring Hill (1919; 1921–1922), Loyola (1924–1925).
  • Pat Dwyer, assistant for Auburn (1908), head coach for LSU (1911–1913), Toledo (1923–1925).
  • Lew Hardage: played for Auburn (1908–1909), assistant for Vanderbilt (1922–1931), head coach at Mercer (1913), Oklahoma (1932–1934).
  • Rip Major: played for Auburn (1910–1912), assistant for Clemson (1913), head coach for Wofford (1919; 1922–1926).
  • George Penton: played for Auburn (1908–1909), assistant for Auburn (1913), head coach for Troy (1911–1912).
  • Boozer Pitts: played for Auburn (1913–1914), assistant for Auburn (1919–1922; 1925–1927), head coach for Auburn (1923–1924).
  • George B. Sparkman, Jr.: played for Auburn (1908), assistant for Florida (1919)

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Auburn Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1904–1906)
1904 Auburn 5–0 4–0 T–1st
1905 Auburn 4–4 2–4 9th
1906 Auburn 1–5–1 0–5 16th
Auburn Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1908–1921)
1908 Auburn 6–1 5–1 T–1st
1909 Auburn 6–2 3–2 6th
1910 Auburn 6–1 6–0 T–1st
1911 Auburn 4–2–1 3–0–1 2nd
1912 Auburn 6–1–1 4–1–1 3rd
1913 Auburn 8–0 7–0 1st
1914 Auburn 8–0–1 5–0–1 T–1st
1915 Auburn 6–2 4–2 7th
1916 Auburn 6–2 5–2 6th
1917 Auburn 6–2–1 5–1 3rd
1918 Auburn 2–5 0–2 11th
1919 Auburn 8–1 5–1 1st
1920 Auburn 7–2 3–2 8th
1921 Auburn 5–3 3–2 9th
Auburn Tigers (Southern Conference) (1922)
1922 Auburn 8–2 2–1 T–6th
Auburn: 105–35–5 65–26–3
LSU Tigers (Southern Conference) (1923–1927)
1923 LSU 3–5–1 0–3 19th
1924 LSU 5–4 0–3 T–19th
1925 LSU 5–3–1 0–2–1 T–17th
1926 LSU 6–3 3–3 T–10th
1927 LSU 4–4–1 2–3–1 11th
LSU: 23–19–3 5–14–2
Total: 129–54–8

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Donahue (1912). C. E. Sauls; C. W. Shelverton; J. K. Newell; H. W. Grady; W. B. Nickerson, eds. "Glomerata" (Annual). 15. Auburn, AL: Alabama Polytechnic Institute: 230. Retrieved 21 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Irish and the Making of American Sport, 1835-1920". google.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/aub/genrel/auto_pdf/2013-14/misc_non_event/1913_team.pdf
  4. cf. "Auburn's Gator Bowl Champs Rated Among Top Tiger Teams". Ocala Star-Banner. January 16, 1955.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Auburn Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved April 7, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Tradition, History, and Legend". Auburn Official Athletic Site. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 7, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Mickey Logue and Jack Simms, Auburn: The Lovliest Village Photograph Collection, RG 798". Auburn University Libraries. Retrieved April 7, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. J. B. Overstreet; Carl Montgomery; Paul Bidez; Wilbur Littleton; Leonard Pearce; Victoria Steele, eds. (1915). "Glomerata" (Annual). 18. Auburn, AL: Alabama Polytechnic Institute: 192. Retrieved 22 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Mike Donahue Coaches Again, St. Petersburg Times, Nov 14, 1934.

External links