Many wondered how Steve Donahue would fair during his transition from the Ivy League to the Atlantic Coast Conference. So far, Donahue has done nothing but succeed at the helm of the Eagles.
Boston College is 8-2 (1-0 ACC) through its first ten games and is tied for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference after defeating rival Maryland 79-84 last Sunday.
"Every game I play here, I just think it's a real privilege to coach in the ACC," Donahue said. "Obviously, you look down the sidelines and you see [Maryland coach] Gary Williams, a national-championship coach, probably a Hall of Famer."
Coaching alongside legends like Williams might frazzle the confidence of some coaches, but not Donahue's.
"To be honest, I try not to think of those things and just handle it like a regular basketball game, which obviously I've done over my career," Donahue said. "I didn't want to make it any bigger than that, nor should it be. It's about our team, our players, playing well and playing at whatever venue."
Williams isn't the only coach with top-notch credentials that Donahue will have to face in the ACC, either. Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Roy Williams of North Carolina both have very impressive coaching resumes as well.
Donahue knows that, and he has nothing but the utmost reverence for the aforementioned group of current and future Hall of Famers.
"I have great respect for both of them and what they've accomplished," Donahue said about Krzyzewski and Roy Williams. "Both have different ways. I've always admired Roy and how he handles himself on and off the court. We played him three times when I was an assistant at Penn and just think he's such a classy person, a teriffic basketball coach, coaches the right way and treats people the right way. Coach K has built Duke into a national power, and he does it with great kids and they do it in a first-class way as well."
Even though Donahue isn't affected by all the glitz and glamor that comes with ACC basketball, that doesn't mean he isn't thankful to be right where he is. After coaching 20 years in the Ivy League, Donahue has frequently said that it's a privilege to be in Chestnut Hill.
One major difference between the Ivy League and the ACC is the ability to offer athletic scholarships. Donahue believes that Boston College is the perfect fit for him, saying that it is an Ivy League-type school with a solid basketball program. But when it comes to the actual coaching, the differences are few and far between.
"I really don't think my approach is any different than it would be in the Ivy's," Donahue said. "There's great coaches and great strategy, and you have a certain amount of things that your team can do well and certain things that you're trying to get the other team to expose, maybe some of their weaknesses. But the coaching part itself is very similar, and I feel that I'm well-prepared because of my experience in the Ivy's."
All Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo needed was a passionate, fundamentally solid coach to help the program reach its full potential, and it appears as if he's found the right man in Donahue.