Terry Donovan has two schools still alive in the NCAA Tournament, and that should be encouraging news for fans of Stanislaus State athletics.
Donovan has been named the school's director of athletics, a post he'll officially assume May 1. Donovan has spent the past three years as the associate athletics director for business operations at Fresno State.
He's also worked in similar leadership capacities at Syracuse University, Arizona State University and the University of Nevada, from which he holds two degrees.
Now, he takes the reins at Stanislaus State, a Division II university that competes in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
He fills the vacancy created by Mike Matoso, who resigned in July of 2017 to accept the same position at Saint Mary's College in Moraga.
Kim Duyst served as Stanislaus State's interim AD as it conducted a national search that ultimately produced Donovan, a well-traveled professional with deep Central Valley roots.
His wife, Brandy, was born and raised in Fresno. Together, they have two children: Elijah, 9, and Colby, 5.
"Terry Donovan's leadership and experience in athletic program administration, university and external relations and financial affairs will strategically position the Stan State Athletics Department for fiscal sustainability and growth," University President Ellen June said in a joint statement with Vice President for Student Affairs Suzanne Espinoza.
Imagine Donovan's levels of excitement the last two weeks: Not only will he oversee an athletic department at Stanislaus State "destined for good things," but two of his former employers — Nevada and Syracuse — have defied the odds in reaching the Sweet 16.
The seventh-ranked Nevada men's basketball team overcame a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes to upset second-seeded Cincinnati, while Syracuse has taken the longest road to the Sweet 16, beating Arizona State (another on Donovan's resume), TCU and Michigan State.
"I can root for them," Donovan said of Nevada, alluding to the fact that Fresno State, a Mountain West Conference rival, failed to qualify for a postseason tournament.
Like the basketball teams at Nevada and Syracuse, and football program at Fresno State — in 2017, the Bulldogs became just the second team in Division I history to go from double-digit losses to double-digit wins in one season — Donovan believes the Stanislaus State athletic department can turn heads.
The Warriors have that wow factor, he said. He is "blown away" by the facilities and the number of high-character student-athletes already on roster.
In order to build a reputation of service and success, though, Donovan said Stanislaus State must consistently compete for championships.
“The goal is to be successful in everything we do, primarily with the student-athlete experience,” Donovan said. “We have a responsibility to produce successful student-athletes who can contribute in the Turlock community.
“A big part of that is we have to be successful in athletes and regularly compete in conference championships. That’s going to be the expectation. We’re in this business to produce good student-athletes in the classroom and out. Winning is a big part of it. I have high expectations for us all."
Donovan brings a rich history in finance.
At Fresno, he supervised the department's $44 million annual budget and helped court football coach Jeff Tedford, the 2017 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.
From 2011 to 2015, he was involved in all aspects of finance and human resources at Syracuse, where he's credited with turning a $3 million deficit into a $5 million surplus.
He also was the associate director of athletics for finance and human resource management, as well as the assistant athletics director for business operations at Nevada.
In all, Donovan has 18 years of experience in collegiate athletic administration.
He can't wait to get started in Turlock, an opportunity that satisfies both of his life's major pursuits: a career in college athletics, while raising a young family in the Central Valley, home to so many of his extended family members.
"I'm blown away by the sense of community and camaraderie," Donovan said. "It's a place destined for good things. I can't wait to lead it and can't wait to be part of that culture."