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The Press Newspaper

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P.J. Kapfhammer, Oregon school board president, said Clay athletic director Mike Donnelly turned in his resignation on September 10. 

He said the resignation, which must be approved by the board, will be on the agenda for the September 18 meeting. Kapfhammer said the school has begun a search for a new AD.

"He (Donnelly) has accepted the job at St. Ursula and has turned in his letter of resignation," Kapfhammer said. "I do believe it will be accepted."

Donnelly said, “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work and coach at my alma mater.  I am going to miss the teachers, coaches, and staff that work hard every day to make our community a better place. 

“The job of athletic director in a large school district is difficult, stressful, and time consuming.  I want to spend a little more time raising my two daughters with my wife and working at St. Ursula  will provide me an opportunity to do that.”

The Oregon school board in 2007 hired Mike Donnelly as the new Clay football coach. Donnelly took over the Eagle football program from Jeff Lee, who announced his resignation after the 2006 season.

Donnelly began as an assistant administrator for the school district during his first two year contract with a salary of $46,000. He lives in the Oregon district and has a bachelors’ degree in chemistry from Wittenberg University.

After six years at the helm of the Clay football program, Coach Mike Donnelly announced his resignation after the 2012 season.

His teams went a combined 29-31, including a 7-3 record in 2008. During his tenure at Clay, his teams broke 19 school offensive records. 

Donnelly says the highlights of his career including coaching University of Michigan starting safety Jordan Kovacs, who was named the Wolverine’s MVP in team voting. The team picked Kovacs over quarterback Denard Robinson.

Donnelly also coached former Ohio State and current Chicago Bears receiver Dane Sanzenbacher while he was an assistant at Central Catholic, where his 2005 team won one Division II state championship during a 10-year stint. In 2005, he was named Assistant Coach of the Year in Northwest Ohio.

Donnelly, a Clay alumnus, was also a wide receivers coach at Wittenberg University in 1997, helping a team that went 9-1 and won the North Coast Athletic Conference.

He remained athletic director at Clay until this month. He spoke about his football resignation at the Clay fall sports banquet, citing his health as one of the reasons for his decisions.

“For the past six years I have had the wonderful opportunity to influence high school students’ learning and development as head football coach,” Donnelly said. 

“During this time, I have also taken on the role of athletic director, a job that perfectly fits my passion for athletics. Over time however, the demands and high profile positions of athletic director and head football coach have taken its toll on me physically and mentally,” he continued.

“Additionally, the time spent away from my wife and children to pursue my dreams have meant missing many family functions.  I have come to the decision that for the betterment of my health and well-being that I resign from the position of head football coach.”

A 1993 graduate of Clay, Donnelly was previously the offensive coordinator at Central Catholic, where the team went to five playoffs, won two league titles, and won the Division II state championship in 2005. During the seven years with Donnelly serving as an assistant, Central teams went 61-21.

In addition to the state championship, Central Catholic’s 2005 football team had 22 straight wins between 2005 and 2006. (— Melissa Burden contributed to this story)

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