The longest-tenured member of the Tiger coaching staff, John Donatelli is starting his 16th season as part of the program.
Last season, Coach Donatelli’s offensive line played a vital role in the Tigers’ climb to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association standings. The Tigers’ offensive line helped the Towson offense average 34.6 points per game in addition to leading the CAA with 229.9 rushing yards per game.
After the conclusion of the Tigers’ season, two of his offensive linemen, Henry Glackin and Eric Pike, earned All-CAA honors.
The Tigers’ offensive line coach for the last 14 years, Coach Donatelli became the first assistant coach hired by Rob Ambrose when he was named as the Tigers’ new head coach in January, 2009.
Almost immediately after taking the job, Coach Ambrose announced that Donatelli would return as the Tigers’ Offensive Line Coach, taking the first step towards assembling his coaching staff.
“John is a veteran offensive line coach who is completely invested in our offensive linemen,” said Coach Ambrose. “The improvement that our offensive line has shown is due to his commitment.
“When I was the Offensive Coordinator at Towson (1997-2000), John was someone that I relied on completely, both on and off the field,” he added. “He is personally responsible for the development of the highest NFL draft pick in Towson history. Although John didn’t graduate from Towson, his commitment to the University and the football program makes him a Towson alum in my mind. He has the kind of passion we need to take this football program to the next level.”
A Baltimore native and a graduate of Calvert Hall High School, Coach Donatelli graduated from Frostburg State in 1988, earning a B.S. degree in Business Management. A three-year starter at offensive center, he was honored as the Bobcats’ Lineman of the Year in 1987.
In 1995, he began work on a degree in Kinesiology. In 1997, he earned a second undergraduate degree when he graduated from Towson University with a degree in Sport Management.
Donatelli joined the Tigers’ coaching staff in 1997, the program’s first season as a member of the Patriot League. A part-time member of the coaching staff, he was the team’s Assistant Offensive Line Coach. In 1998, he served as the Tigers’ tight ends coach.
In 1999, he became the Tigers’ Offensive Line Coach. For the next four years, he was the only Offensive Line Coach in NCAA Division I who was a part-time coach.
With Towson preparing to become a scholarship football program, Donatelli became a full-time member of the Tiger coaching staff in 2003, just in time for the Tigers’ debut in the Atlantic-10 Football Conference in the 2004 season.
Coach Donatelli enjoyed one of the highlights of his career on April 28, 2007. That’s when one of his prize pupils, Offensive Tackle Jermon Bushrod, was selected in the fourth round of the National Football League draft by the New Orleans Saints. After spending two seasons as a reserve lineman for the Saints, he broke into the starting lineup at left tackle in 2009. In his first season as a starter, he contributed to the top-ranked offense in the NFL as the Saints upset Indianapolis to win their first Super Bowl title.
In early February of 2010, Coach Donatelli travelled to Miami to watch his prize pupil play in his first Super Bowl.
Over the last 14 years, Donatelli has excelled in his role as Offensive Line Coach, coaching 10 linemen who have earned all-conference honors.
Donatelli’s coaching career began at his alma mater where he was an assistant coach at Calvert Hall for six years. During those years, he was the Offensive Line Coach, Special Teams Coordinator and Strength Coach.
While he was a part-time coach at Towson, he co-owned a business with his brother, Dan, leading Chesapeake Crane Service, Inc.
A first team All-Metro pick at offensive tackle at Calvert Hall, he helped the Cardinals win three Maryland Scholastic Association championships in four years. He also played for the Cardinals’ undefeated team in 1981.
Coach Donatelli is a member of the American Football Coaches Association. He and his wife, Maria, a 1995 Towson graduate, are the parents of two children, Samantha and Luca. They reside in the Fallston area.