Twenty-six-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Kevin Donner returns for his 16th season at the helm of the Bucknell men’s and women’s cross country and track and field program. During his successful tenure in Lewisburg, Donner has kept the Bison among the elite programs in the East.
Donner’s men’s team continued its recent resurgence in 2009-10, winning its first Patriot League Outdoor Championship title in 19 years in a thrilling three-point victory over Army before repeating as team champions the next three seasons. The men also claimed their first indoor league title since 1993 during the 2011-12 season.
Donner led the Bucknell women to another Patriot League “Triple Crown” in 2009-10, earning league championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. That excellent season marked the third time in five years that Donner’s women’s squad claimed a trio of titles in the same campaign (2005-06, 2006-07). The Bison also won Patriot League Championships in cross country and indoor track in 2007-08. More recently, Bucknell swept the indoor and outdoor titles with both Patriot League trophies in 2012-13 and 2014-15.
Last season, Donner was named Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Coach of the Year by the USTFCCA following an impressive outdoor campaign. Donner guided the Bucknell women to its sixth outdoor title in eight years, running away with the championship by a 40.5-point margin. The Bison also set team records at the ECAC Outdoor Championships, finishing in a program-best third place while scoring a record 38 points. Under the direction of Donner, three athletes qualified for the NCAA East Regional Meet, the most in a single-season in program history.
Numerous athletes have qualified for IC4A/ECAC berths in recent years and that success has expanded to the NCAA’s postseason. In 2013 Leonard Joseph became Bucknell’s first back-to-back NCAA Championship qualifier since 1980-81. The hammer thrower also earned a second All-America citation with an 11th-place finish.
Donner’s Gerhard Fieldhouse office is ringed with 33 Patriot League championship team trophies — six in women’s cross country, 11 in women’s indoor track and field, 11 in women’s outdoor track and field, four in men’s outdoor track and field and one in men’s indoor track and field.
The list of individual accomplishments among Bucknell’s cross country and track and field athletes during Donner’s first dozen years with the Orange and Blue is staggering. Including all three seasons of competition, his Bison women’s teams have crowned 160 Patriot League champions, 88 All-East performers and 12 NCAA qualifiers. On the men’s side, Bucknell has claimed 108 conference champions, 100 All-East citations, 13 NCAA qualifiers and two All-Americans under Donner.
In his very first season at Bucknell in 2001, Donner helped Theresa Dennis and Greg Costello qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, and two more Bison returned to the national meet in 2006 when Leanna Nastase and Matt Forys earned bids.
The following spring, Forys went back to the NCAA Championships in outdoor track, where he qualified in the steeplechase. Record-setting pole vaulter Melanie Buczko made two NCAA appearances, first indoors in 2005 and then outdoors in 2006, and Maria Garcia made it to NCAAs in the hammer throw in 2006. Laura Rycek and Ted Heitzman joined the list in the javelin in 2011, and Joseph advanced in the hammer in 2012 and 2013.
Before arriving at Bucknell in 2001, Donner, a native of Detroit, Mich., and a 1984 graduate of the University of Detroit, successfully transformed the Saint Francis (Pa.) program into one of the elite squads in the Northeast Conference. It was a banner campaign in 2000-01 for the Red Flash men’s teams, as Saint Francis captured its second straight NEC cross country title, followed by indoor and outdoor track and field titles as well. The cross country unit placed third at the Mid-Atlantic Regional and vaulted to a Division I national ranking of 26th.
Donner also guided the Red Flash women to an NEC cross country title in 1997 and the men’s and women’s cross country teams to All-Academic Team honors in five consecutive seasons. He was cited as the conference coach of the year in cross country and track and field seven times, and in 2000, he was honored as the top men’s cross country mentor in the Mid-Atlantic Region. All 81 men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field school records were shattered under Donner’s watch.
Among the stellar individual achievements by his Red Flash student-athletes were a cross country All-American, 40 men’s and women’s NEC titles, 27 all-conference performers, nine U.S. Junior National qualifiers, two Canadian National qualifiers and six CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. One of his top distance athletes, Brian Sell, competed in the Olympic marathon in Beijing in 2008.
Prior to his stint at Saint Francis, Donner served as assistant women’s cross country and track and field coach at Central Michigan University from 1993-95. There, Donner coached eight All-Mid-American Conference performers and one NCAA qualifier.
Following his graduation from Detroit, Donner established a new varsity program at his alma mater, becoming the school’s first-ever women’s coach. He served a nine-year stint at Detroit, where he coached 20 All-Midwestern Collegiate Conference student-athletes and guided the women’s cross-country program to back-to-back MCC titles in 1986 and 1987.
A member of the NCAA Division I Coaches Associations for cross country and track and field, Donner took over the reins of a Bucknell program that has listed among the elite in the East for the better part of two decades. Bucknell’s women’s cross country team has captured eight of the past 15 Patriot League titles, while the men’s team won three straight championships from 1990-92 and again from 1997-99. Similarly successful on the track, the Bison women have earned 11 of the last 15 Patriot League outdoor titles and 12 of the last 16 indoor championships. All told, the Bucknell men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field squads have captured 35 Patriot League championships in 23 years.
Donner currently resides in Lewisburg with his wife Amy, a statistics and mathematics instructor at Bucknell, and their eight-year-old daughter, Jillianne.
|Alma Mater:||University of Detroit '84|