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Sunday / May 20.
  • Willard, Donovan Usher in New Seton Hall Hoops Era; Rutgers’ Jackson to Transfer

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    Seton Hall will usher in a new era in men’s and women’s basketball Wednesday when the school introduces Kevin Willard as its new men’s coach and Anne Donovan as its latest women’s coach.

    Both will be introduced during a joint noon news conference in South Orange, N.J.

    Shortly after landing Willard from Iona Sunday morning, Pat Hobbs, the Dean of the Seton Hall Law School, managed to pry the 6-foot-8 Donovan away from the WNBA’s New York Liberty and bring her to Seton Hall as well, ZAGSBLOG.com has learned. Donovan will still coach the Liberty this summer before taking over Seton Hall for the college season.

    Both coaches will receive five-year deals. Willard will receive a total compensation package worth “roughly” $1 million per year, with a base salary in excess of $500,000. Donovan’s contract details were not disclosed.

    “We are announcing to the world that Seton Hall is going to be competitive in college athletics,” a source within the Seton Hall administration said.

    The Liberty were not immediately available for comment.

    Donovan is a Ridgewood, N.J. native and a legendary figure in women’s basketball.

    She took over the Liberty in December 2009 after previous WNBA coaching stints in Indiana, Charlotte and Seattle.

    As an assistant with USA Basketball, Donovan helped the U.S. capture gold at the Olympics in 1998 and 2004. While serving as head coach, she led the 2008 U.S. Women to gold in Beijing and as a result was chosen with Mike Krzyzewski as co-recipients of the 2008 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award in early 2009.

    As a player, she won gold with the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic Teams, 1983 and 1987 Pan American Games Teams, 1986 World Championship Team and the 1978 and 1979 U.S. Olympic Festival East Teams

    “Anne Donovan is the most iconic figure in women’s basketball,” the source said. “She wants to return to college basketball and lead Seton Hall to success in the Big East.”

    Hobbs fired former Seton Hall men’s coach Bobby Gonzalez March 17 after four tumultuous years and former women’s coach Phyllis Mangina resigned March 15 after 25 seasons.

    He also cut four sports, including track and field, while adding women’s golf to save a reported $1.5 million and balance the athletic department’s budget.

    Wednesday will officially mark the beginning of the Pat Hobbs Era at Seton Hall.

    “This is historic,” the source said.

    RUTGERS’ JACKSON TO TRANSFER

    Rutgers sophomore wing Patrick Jackson, out of Brooklyn Boys & Girls High, says he will transfer to a new school for next year.

    The 6-foot-6 Jackson averaged 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds last season at Rutgers. He could wind up at Hofstra, which features three Brooklyn players in David Imes, Chaz Williams and Nathaniel Lester. Imes also attended Boys & Girls. Hofstra is looking for a new coach after Tom Pecora took the Fordham job.

    “My family and I have decided after a meeting with [head coach] Fred Hill [where we both agreed upon me being released] at the conclusion of the 09-10 season that it is time for me to pursue my academic and athletic goals at another University,” Jackson said in an email statement. “I will be transfering at the end of this semester and I look forward to talking to other universities that may be interested in me possibly becoming a student-athlete at their university .”
    Jackson is the seventh Rutgers’ player to leave the program in the last three years.

    Freshman guard Muhamad Hasani recently left the program to return home to Kosovo. Sophomore big man Greg Echenique announced his transfer in January and ended up at Creighton.

    Corey Chandler was dismissed from the team last August.  And 2007 recruits Christian Morris, Earl Pettis and Justin Sofman all transferred.

    “Patrick is a very hard-working young man who was an asset to our program,” Hill said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors, both on and off the court

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    (Photos courtesy Iona, Rutgers Athletics)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.