GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman University President Elizabeth Davis announced Thursday that Jason Donnelly, senior associate athletics director and executive director of athletics development at Villanova University, has been named athletics director at Furman.
Donnelly will begin his duties at Furman on Aug. 12.
“We are excited that Jason is joining the Furman team,” Davis said. “He has been a highly successful administrator and fundraiser at Villanova, demonstrating a key understanding of the important role that athletics plays in higher education. We welcome him to Furman and look forward to the vision and energy he will bring to the university.”
Donnelly has worked at Villanova since 2005 and assumed his most recent role in 2015. He has been responsible for leading the Villanova Athletics Fund, managing fundraising and external support for all 24 varsity sports. During the past four years, Donnelly has helped raise more than $120 million for Villanova Athletics, including three consecutive record-breaking fundraising years representing a 330 percent increase in dollars raised.
“I want to thank President Davis, Board Chair Alec Taylor and the Furman Board of Trustees for their belief in me and the future of Furman Athletics,” Donnelly said. “I am truly honored to join the Paladin family and to do my part as a steward of an incredible athletics department. We will compete for championships and our student-athletes will earn their degrees, and we will do both with the utmost of integrity and class. My family and I can’t wait to get to Greenville and get started.”
Donnelly joined Villanova in 2005 as assistant men’s basketball coach and director of basketball operations. He later became special assistant to head coach Jay Wright and was a key contributor to Villanova’s recent basketball success, including the Wildcats’ NCAA Division I national championship wins in 2016 and 2018. He also served as director of athletics development (2013-2015) before assuming his present position.
Before coming to Villanova, Donnelly was a teacher and basketball coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, as well as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Muhlenberg College, his alma mater. He also served as director of basketball operations for USA Basketball at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil.
A native of Colonia, New Jersey, Donnelly graduated from Muhlenberg in 1999, where he played basketball and was a student leader, and he has completed his coursework toward a master’s of public administration from Villanova. Donnelly and his wife, Rachel, a native of Baskersville, North Carolina, have three children—Aidan (9), Raeyln (7) and Allister (3).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT JASON DONNELLY
“We are proud of Jason and happy for him and Rachel. Furman is getting a hard-working, loyal visionary as its athletics director. His fundraising, leadership and loyalty to all Villanovans has been vital to Villanova’s athletics and academic success. We are all going to miss, Jason, Rachel and the Donnelly family.”
-Jay Wright, William B. Finneran Endowed Men’s Basketball Coach, Villanova University
“Jason has been an incredible asset to Villanova Athletics and I could not be more excited about this opportunity for him, his wife, Rachel, and their kids. From the moment I arrived at Villanova, Jason has been an invaluable member of my leadership team. He has been instrumental in our record-breaking fundraising achievements and the unprecedented growth and success of Villanova Athletics during the past four years – which will serve him well as he takes on this well-deserved leadership role at Furman.”
- Mark Jackson, Director of Athletics, Villanova University
“Villanova’s recent capital campaign saw the university reach new levels in fundraising, and Jason Donnelly played a key role in our athletics fundraising success. He brought a new energy to the athletics fundraising arm, which resulted in historic giving to our athletics’ programs. Jason will be missed by the Villanova community and we wish him nothing but the best in his new position. Furman is getting a tremendous leader as well as a person who cares deeply about the communities in which he works.”
- Mike O’Neill, Senior VP for University Advancement, Villanova University
“I am so excited for Jason Donnelly in his new role as Director of Athletics at Furman University. A perfect choice! He has been an outstanding partner for me as dean of the Villanova School of Business. He has been a superstar in being able to blend the athletic and academic sides together which enables student-athletes to be significantly more successful. He has also created much stronger collaborations all across campus among faculty, staff, students, athletes, donors, alumni and employers. I know he will be incredibly successful in this important role for Furman.”
- Joyce E. A. Russell, The Helen and William O’Toole Dean, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University
“Jason Donnelly has displayed an extraordinary capability of managing the many facets of a university’s athletics department. As a coach, his player relation skills were on exhibit on a daily basis as Villanova basketball was able reach the ultimate reward of winning two NCAA national championships. His seamless adjustment to athletics administration, in particular fundraising, contributed to the success of all 24 varsity men’s and women’s sports at Villanova. Jason’s personality and work ethic will make Furman University proud of their decision.”
- Bill Raftery, Hall of Fame Broadcaster, FOX Sports and CBS