It is with sadness that we inform the Worcester Academy community of the passing of beloved WA friend and legendary Worcester Academy athletic director and boys basketball coach, Donald E. Rowe, who passed today at the age of 91 following a short illness.
“Dee” as he was affectionately known to all, graduated from the Academy in 1947 and became a towering presence on the Hilltop, and in American NCAA and professional basketball, in the second half of the 20th century after returning to WA and building the Academy athletic program into a prep school powerhouse.
He later ushered in the modern era of basketball as head men's coach at the University of Connecticut and took a lead role in founding the NCAA’s Big East Conference, which earned him the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Until recently, Dee had maintained a constant, reassuring presence at Worcester Academy, regularly attending the WA’s Rowe Family Scholarship Golf Tournament, Reunion Weekends, the Varsity Club dinner, athletic events of every kind, and other special events.
As a special assistant to the head of school at WA, he was instrumental in generating essential support for the Academy, including fundraising for the Rowe Family Scholarship, which has benefitted many dozens of Academy students over the years.
He was a member of the Worcester Academy Hall of Fame and was a recipient of its distinguished Varsity Club Award.
We love you, Dee, rest in peace. And many thanks from the Worcester Academy community for your friendship and for your dedication to WA over these many years. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Rowe family and to your many friends and loved ones around the globe.
The Rowe family has announced that funeral services will be private, but a celebration of his life is to be held at a future date when the COVID-19 pandemic has abated and conditions allow.
WA has shared Dee's complete obituary here
(This post will be updated as additional information may become available)