A big supporter of women's basketball is leaving her job at the NCAA.
Sue Donohoe abruptly announced Wednesday that she will resign at the end of November, stepping down from her post as vice president for family and personal reasons.
"Sue has been a tireless advocate for women's basketball within the NCAA and those that play the game have benefited from her efforts," said Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference commissioner Rich Ensor, who just finished up a term on the women's basketball tournament selection committee. "The NCAA will need to replace her voice for equity as the association transitions into its new championship operating model."
Donohoe joined the NCAA in 1999 after serving as associate commissioner of the Southland Conference. During her NCAA tenure, she was a director of both the men's and women's basketball championships. But as vice president of women's basketball, she watched the sport grow in ways she could only have imagined when she was starting her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Louisiana Tech.
"Sue has been an invaluable partner to ESPN and a force within women's basketball," said Carol Stiff, ESPN Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions. "She has overseen the extraordinary growth of the sport through her commitment and dedication, and she will be greatly missed."
Four years ago, Donohoe spearheaded an effort to help people better understand the selection process for the NCAA tournament. In February 2008, she invited a select group of media members and former coaches to attend a weekend in Indianapolis.
The group performed a mock exercise acting as if it was the actual NCAA women's basketball selection committee, using the same data, procedures and rules as the real committee.
That helped generate a greater appreciation for the process and the work that the committee does. The NCAA has continued to conduct these mock brackets over the last few years, inviting current coaches to attend.
"Her commitment to openness 'de-mystified' many NCAA processes and helped administrators, coaches and media alike gain a greater understanding of the NCAA's policies and procedures," Women's Basketball Coaches Association CEO Beth Bass said in a statement.
"Her positive impact on the entire culture of women's basketball — from USA Basketball, to playing rules, to mock bracketing, to the WBCA — is immeasurable."
Donohoe was chosen in 2009 to chair USA Basketball's junior national committee.
Greg Shaheen, interim executive vice president for championships and alliances, praised Donohoe for her many contributions to women's basketball and intercollegiate athletics.
"Throughout her tenure at the NCAA, Sue has led important work in women's basketball in a manner that will enhance the game significantly for years to come," Shaheen said. "The opportunities to grow the game of women's basketball and all of women's athletics will increase as a result of momentum created from Sue's vision."Comment on this story
Donohoe was a graduate assistant on Louisiana Tech's staff in 1982 when the Lady Techsters won the first NCAA tournament title. Donohoe also was an assistant coach at Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin.
"Sue is extremely smart," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who played for the Lady Techsters when Donohoe was there. "She went through the coaching ranks, so she has a great understanding of the frustration of coaches with things pertaining to the NCAA. She understands the joys of coaching and understands the coaching mind more than a lot of the administrations. She'll be missed."
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot contributed to this report.