Passings

By Irish America Staff
August/ September 2003
By Irish America Staff
August/ September 2003

Jack Donohue, the high school coach of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and for years the face of Canadian basketball, died in late April. He was 70.

A New Yorker, Donohue moved to Canada in the 1970s and served as head coach of the Canadian men’s basketball team for 17 years, leading the team to the Olympics four times.

Donohue coached Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, at Power Memorial Academy in New York. He also coached at Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, before moving to Canada.

Jay Triano, coach of Canada’s national team and one of Donohue’s most successful players, told the New York Times, “He would demand that we, as 18-or 19-year-olds, were polite to people all the time. You always thanked the bus driver. We would laugh and say, `Coach, the bus driver doesn’t even speak English.’ He would say, “No, but you know what, he knows what thank you means.”

John Riley, who provided commentary during the first moon walk, in 1969, died on April 17, he was 78.

Riley began working for NASA in 1959 and spent the next 33 years with the agency’s public affairs department. As part of the Apollo 13 team, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He is survived by a sister, his wife, Pat, sons Kevin, Sean and Brian, a daughter, Kerry Regan and 12 grandchildren. ♦

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