How’d he learn to play? John Donahue knows,
Who’s most responsible for the success in recent years of the Chicago Bulls basketball team? Superstar guard Derrick Rose? Coach Tom Thibodeau? Or, as some in his family may believe, is it John Donahue, CEO of the Brentwood, Tenn.-based Cogent HMG hospitalist staffing company?
Donahue reports that he was the very first basketball coach of Bulls center Joakim Noah when the 27-year-old, almost 7-footer was a very young boy playing for the Marymount International School of Paris. Donahue said he was working as the CFO for the international division of the Rhone-poulenc pharmaceutical company, now Sanofi-aventis, and living in Paris when his own children were attending Marymount.
When Noah was kindergarten age, Donahue said he saw him running around with a pack of kids on the soccer field and declared, “He’s my No. 1 draft choice for the basketball team,” and served as his coach until he was about 10 years old.
“He always had the biggest smile, but he was also the most aggressive kid in trying to score. I have no doubt that I’m responsible for his success with the Chicago Bulls,” Donahue boasts, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Donahue explains that the school’s coaching style was to “give them the fundamentals and just let them go.”
Donahue says Chicago Bull Joakim Noah was an aggressive player from the start.