F. Joseph Donahue '22, L.L.B. '25 (Football, Basketball, Track & Field, Track Coach)

Inducted 1977

Joe Donahue came to Catholic University from Lynn, Mass., in the late teens of the 20th Century and contributed to the Cardinals’ athletic success as an athlete and coach. He was better known by one of his nicknames: “Jiggs,” “Doctor” or “Doc.”

He competed in track as an undergraduate and in football while earning his law degree. He is listed in his previous Hall of Fame bio as playing guard on the basketball team, but this is hard to verify because CUA’s student newspaper, The Tower, didn’t begin until 1922.

According to The University Symposium, Vol. 8, 1919-20, “Joe Donahue has been showing fine form on the track, and he is expected to have a big year.”

The 1922 Cardinal, Catholic University’s yearbook, described him thusly: “Jiggs was not lacking in athletic ability, particularly in track events, in which he represented his class admirably, and was a contributing factor in the victories of C.U.”

Donohue played right end on the football team during an era when players played offense and defense. One of the high points of his career came in a 16-12 loss at Muhlenberg in 1923 when he blocked a punt deep in their territory, scooped it up and scored a touchdown. In the Cardinals’ season-ending 26-0 victory over George Washington at Griffith Stadium – then home to Major League Baseball’s Washington Senators – he and his defensive line teammates were cited by The Tower for “playing its best game of the season.

“Time and again, their runners were brought down in their tracks four and five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Donohue, Regan and Tobin excelled in this respect, their flying tackles upsetting the G.W. backs in great style.”

After completing his playing career in 1924, Donohue and his senior teammates were presented with gold footballs. The following year he volunteered to be the Cardinals’ head track coach. He went on to become a lawyer in the nation’s capital and teach economics at CUA, and was general chairman of the school’s local alumni chapter.

Chris McManes
June 2012