Good coaches are measured by successful records; great coaches are also measured by players who succeed in life—after the games. If that sounds too flowery, then you’ve not had the pleasure to meet Coach Kevin Donley—who started the football program at Saint Francis University in 1997. And he hasn’t looked back since.
Easily recognizable, this soft-spoken-off-the-field giant is a presence, indeed. Coach Donley exudes a unique intensity—part power, part toughness, part mentor and part grandpa (which he is to four beautiful grandchildren). This man is respected. By his players of yesteryear and today. By his coaching staff and university. And by the community. He’s a gentle giant who has transformed lives in an unquantifiable measure.
But perhaps it’s what we’d expect from a coach who holds an incredible record of 17 conference titles within 34 seasons; who is a two-time national coach of the year—and the winningest coach in the entire NAIA and member of the NAIA’s Hall of Fame.
But it’s not all about wins, according to Donley. It’s about molding young athletes into successful young men.
“There is a destination to win the championship, but working with young men is a day-to-day process of teaching them integrity, work ethic, being responsible and prompt. All these things teach kids how to be leaders. How to be impactful. That’s what it’s about,” he said.
But while Donley ’s own integrity was molded through his own life journey (which is a fascinating story in itself!), some very special women helped along the way.
“My mother, who is now in her late 80s, has been my greatest female influence … I still talk to her every day,” he said. “She was a tough gal and never gave up on me when I wasn’t always such a good boy,” he quietly laughed.
“And then there’s my daughter. Like my mom, she’s a career person and tough gal … I see a lot of me and my mother in her.”
And, there’s Rita. “I married a wonderful, wonderful lady,” he smiled. “Rita has just been a real blessing in my life. I think she has influenced me spiritually as much as Sister Elise (SFU’s president) has… so while Sister Elise kept me in line,” he chuckled again, “Rita sealed the deal.”
So what goal is left for Donley to score? “I want to see my kids and kids I coach grow to be a success… and win a few games along the way,” he said with a smile.
What’s With The Shoes?
You may have noticed each he glows’ photo includes a pair of women’s shoes. Why? The shoes represent the women who encouraged, influenced, loved and helped shape our he glows’ subjects into amazing, admirable glo-worthy men.