The Billy Donlon File
|Alma Mater: UNC-Wilmington|
|Hometown: Northbrook, Ill.|
Wife: Melissa Donlon
|Children: Maren Grace Donlon, Emily Anne Donlon|
Experience: 19 seasons (6 as Head Coach)
College Head Coaching Record
|Kansas City: 0-0|
|Wright State: 109-94 (.537) (6 seasons)|
|Overall: 109-94 (.537) (6 seasons)|
2017-2019: Assistant Coach, Northwestern
|2016-2017: Assistant Coach, Michigan|
|2010-2016: Head Coach, Wright State|
|2006-2010: Associate Head Coach, Wright State|
|2002-2006: Assistant Coach, UNC-Wilmington|
|2000-2001: Assistant Coach, Saint Peter's University (New Jersey)|
|1999-2000: Assistant Coach, American University|
(Press Conference Video) (Videos - Get to Know Coach Donlon) Billy Donlon was introduced as the 7th head coach in Kansas City men’s basketball history on March 28th, 2019. Donlon will look to rebuild a Roos program that hasn’t been above .500 since the 2016-2017 season. After spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach in power five conferences, Donlon will return to the mid-major level where he spent six successful seasons as the head coach at Wright State.
“Billy Donlon has the experience and track record of success that can take our men’s basketball program to the next level,” said Kansas City Athletics Director Brandon E. Martin, Ph.D. “He understands that comprehensive excellence is the expectation here, and he knows how to achieve it.”
“It reminds me of my experiences at Wilmington and Wright State. Neither of those programs had a winning tradition. That excites me – the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done,” Donlon said. “We’re not only going to knock on the door, we’re going to kick it in,” he added. “There has to be a first time. Northwestern did it two years ago (earned its first NCAA tournament bid). We were part of the first Big Ten championship at Michigan. When people come and watch our players compete and play, they’ll believe we can make the NCAA tournament.”
Billy Donlon joined the Northwestern men’s basketball program as an assistant coach in June 2017. During Donlon’s time as an assistant coach at Northwestern the Wildcats went a combined 28-36.
Donlon’s lone season in Ann Arbor saw Michigan post a 26-12 record, including winning four games in four days to capture the Big Ten tournament title. The Wolverines went on to advance to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.
Donlon made the move to Michigan after spending a decade at Wright State, including the final six years as the program's head coach. In those six seasons (2010-16), Donlon compiled a 109-94 record with three 20-plus win seasons and helped the Raiders reach the Horizon League Tournament title game three times (2013, '14, '16). In addition, Donlon's squads tied the program marks for wins with 23 in 2013 and conference wins with 13 in 2016.
After his 2013 squad was picked to finished last in the preseason, Donlon went on to be named the Horizon League’s Coach of the Year. He guided the Raiders to a 10-win improvement, tying the school record with 23 wins, the No. 3 seed and a championship game appearance in the Horizon League Tournament as well as a semifinal appearance in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). He was also named a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award and the Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Award given to the nation's top mid-major coach.
During his tenure, he coached five players to All-Horizon League honors -- Vaughn Duggins (2011, 1st), N'Gai Evans (2011, 2nd), Julius Mays (2012, 2nd), Cole Darling (2013, 2nd) and A.J. Pacher (2014, 2nd). In 2012, Mays was also named the Horizon Newcomer of the Year and was a member of the All-Newcomer Team. Known for his defensive strategies, Wright State's defense ranked as high as 16th nationally in 2013, and he had two players selected as the Horizon League All-Defensive Team -- Matt Vest (2014) and Joe Thomasson (2016).
Before his promotion to head coach in 2010, Donlon served as the associate head coach under current Clemson head coach Brad Brownell for four seasons (2007-10). He helped Wright State to four straight 20-plus win seasons, the 2007 Horizon League regular-season and tournament title and an automatic bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, where the Raiders lost in the first round to Pittsburgh.
Before joining Wright State, Donlon was an assistant at his alma mater UNC Wilmington for four seasons (2002-06), coaching again under Brownell. Donlon assisted the Seahawks to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances (2003, '06) and two Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular-season and tournament titles (2003, '06).
Following his collegiate playing career at UNCW, Donlon began his coaching career as an assistant at American University (1999-2000) before moving on to Saint Peter's for a season (2000-01). Following the 2001 season, Donlon spent a year playing professionally overseas with Irish National Team, as well as stops in France and Germany.
As a collegiate player, Donlon was a star guard at UNC Wilmington for four seasons (1996-99), playing in 118 career games. He finished with 901 points and at the time of his graduation he was the Seahawks all-time assist leader with 456, which currently stands third in UNCW history. He was a member of the Colonial Athletic Association's (CAA) All-Rookie Team in 1996 and led the team in assists as a junior (5.6 apg) and senior (5.2 apg).
Donlon, who earned a history degree in 1999 from UNCW, received one of the CAA's most prestigious honors in his senior year. He was selected as the recipient of the Dean Ehlers Award for Leadership, presented annually to the player who embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship through academic and athletic achievements.
He is married to the former Melissa McCracken.