Reprinted from Fosters Daily Democrat - fosters.com
By Mike Whaley
EDITOR'S NOTE: Kelly Donohue has been the Head Women's Basketball Coach at Montgomery County Community College since 2009. She has led the Mustangs to three playoff appearances in the past four seasons, with an overall historical record of 46-25-0.
ROCHESTER — Kelly Donohue never sought adulation or attention, but because of her superlative athletic talent, both were unavoidable.
A 1997 graduate of Spaulding High School, Donohue will go down in the school’s history books as one if its greatest all-around athletes, and arguably the most versatile female athlete.
She starred on the girls’ soccer and basketball teams, and also on the spring track and field team, excelling in all three at a high level.
In soccer, she was a three-time Class L first-team all-state pick, scoring a school-record 78 career goals, including three 20-plus goal seasons and a single-season mark of 29 as a senior. She also led the Red Raiders to three consecutive playoffs, two winning seasons and two playoff wins.
“What made us successful is that we all played together since we were fairly young,” said Donohue, 33, who now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Joe Dunbar, and their 2-year-old son, Colin. She is the head women’s basketball coach at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., where she is also the coordinator of the physical education center.
Donohue, whose family moved to New Hampshire from Maryland when she was 10, remembers playing youth soccer with future high school teammates Jill Demers and Kim Higgins. They played with the boys, since there was no girls’ program, and that was a challenge that she felt helped strengthen their games.
“She had this speed, she could break away and hit (the ball) hard on the run,” said Rusty Whitehouse, who coached Donohue on the JV team as a freshman and on the varsity. “She was one of those kids who never wanted to outshine her teammates. She would include everyone. She was very respectful.”
Brent Diesel, who was the head coach for 13 seasons, said Donohue was part of a talented core that always worked hard to make good things happen.
“She was a great team player,” Diesel said. “She was able to get to a spot to score. She always had a good nose for the net. Kelly came ready to play and kept it in perspective. She wasn’t cocky, but she was really good.”
Donohue picked up the basketball just before high school. She proved to be a quick study, starting three varsity seasons and leading the Red Raiders to three consecutive Class L playoffs. Twice Spaulding advanced to the quarterfinals and her senior year the team went 18-5 overall, the best record in program history.
She was a first-team all-state pick as a senior, scoring 18.7 points per game, while adding five rebounds, five steals and five assists per game. She also crested the 1,000-point mark for her career, the second Spaulding girl to do so.“She saw the floor like no other kid,” said Rick Rogers, who coached Donohue on the JV team as a freshman and also on the varsity as a senior. “She knew when to pounce, when to attack. She got more points off her defense than setting up a play and running through it.”Spaulding has not had a winning season or won a playoff game in either girls’ soccer or basketball since Donohue graduated.
“I am not an attention-seeking person,” Donohue said, who added about coaching, “I like to win. Players on my team think I’m crazy, but I have that winning sense.”
Donohue said she got burned out from soccer, playing it year round, and decided to walk-on to the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team. By the time she was a sophomore, she was on scholarship.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge to go to a D-I school and walk on,” she said. “Part of it, I like challenges.”Donohue got a chance to prove herself late in her freshman season when two players got hurt. She had a breakout game.“It built (coach Sue Johnson’s) confidence in me going forward,” she said.
Donohue was a three-year starter, including her sophomore year when the team went 19-8 overall and lost in the WNIT to Arkansas State. She finished her career with 733 points, 341 assists (5th all-time) and 162 steals (11th).
Track and field was a sport that Donohue disliked, but she competed to stay in shape for soccer and basketball.
“I hated it,” she said. “Running is boring. While I hated running, I did the workouts to stay in shape. And I figured, I’m here, I might as well win.”
Which she did quite often.Donohue was top-four finisher in her junior and senior high school seasons in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Class L and Meet of Champions events, capping her career by winning the MOC title as a senior in the 200.“I really enjoyed my high school days,” Donohue said, “with the friendships and the camaraderie. I have nothing but good memories from Spaulding.”
Now, as a coach, she finds herself using what she learned at Spaulding and UNH to make her a better coach and her players better at basketball. She still cares about wins and losses, but her big selling point at a two-year college is “in one or two years I can get you somewhere else.
“Every day is a learning experience,” she added. “I take what I learned from Spaulding and UNH and give it back.”