Donahue guided the Big Red to a 29-5 record this season — the most wins in Ivy history — and victories over favored Temple and Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament. The first Ivy team to reach the round of 16 in more than 30 years, Cornell lost to No. 1-seeded Kentucky 62-45 in the regional semifinals.
Donahue replaces Al Skinner, who was fired after 13 years in which he became the winningest coach in BC history and took the Eagles to seven NCAA tournaments in nine years.
In announcing the decision, BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo said he was looking for a more exciting style of play than the banging, Big East style Skinner favored.
The school planned a news conference for Wednesday at its new Yawkey Athletic Center instead of the usual basketball postgame interview room at Conte Forum. It also sent an e-mail announcing a campus rally after the news conference.
DeFilippo hopes his new coach will draw fans to the Conte Forum, where attendance has declined for four straight seasons. The e-mail invited fans meet the coach and proclaimed a "new era in BC men's basketball."
Donahue went 74-117 in his first seven seasons at Cornell, which hadn't won the Ivy title since 1988. The Big Red went 16-12 in 2006-07 and the next year won the first of three straight Ivy championships. That broke a string in which Penn and Princeton won or shared every league title but three since 1969.