He had promised himself that he would no longer be president when it was time to blow out his 80th birthday, "because that would have given the club a bad image".
He therefore kept his word.
A few months away from celebrating his 80th birthday - next December 15 - Jean Donnadieu has decided to hand over, to leave his chair as president of Nanterre.
💬 Discover a communication from Jean Donnadieu on https://t.co/xMD1OMhK3A 💚🏀 # WeAreJSF #JeanDonnadieu pic.twitter.com/A6XWaOJVsb
- Nanterre 92 (@ Nanterre92) June 17, 2021
The club announced this Thursday morning in a press release.
He will be replaced from July 1 by his youngest son, Frédéric, who, after having been a sports teacher, had become general manager of the club in 2016. Already to relieve his father.
He also wore the player's tunic and the coach's tracksuit at the club.
He was born in 1977 ... the year his father took over the presidency.
"I've been preparing for it for three years, making the transition as smooth as possible", explains the patriarch, who had taken a step back after having experienced health problems.
As for his eldest son, Pascal, the emblematic coach of all sporting exploits, a rumor that he could take a step back to become a sports manager, he will keep his position on the bench.
The replacement quarter hour will ultimately last more than 60 years
At the club, this announcement is a real earthquake.
It is not a page that turns but a chapter that closes.
If no one is eternal, “nor indispensable” as he likes to repeat, Jean Donnadieu remains the incarnation of this club apart, the guardian of the temple, the guarantor of values.
The story is known and unique.
Like his son Pascal, a bank employee before turning his passion for basketball into a profession and becoming an assistant in the French team, Jean was not scheduled to become a manager of a professional club.
Nothing predestined this telecoms retiree to such an adventure: “I only have my studies certificate but you have to take responsibility and be proud of who you are.
The Breton - sometimes with a character as hard as a menhir "when it is necessary to defend the values of the club" - arrived by chance in 1954. At the time, the minots of Nanterre played on cement grounds and outside , without protection in the event of rain except that of the Lord since these basic installations are located near the parish of Sainte-Marie-des-Fontenelles. The club is not yet called Nanterre 92 but is only the basketball section of the patronage of the JSF, for Jeunesse sportive des Fontenelles.
If he accompanies friends, little Jean is "neither gifted nor attracted" by basketball.
He prefers football or cycling "like all Britons".
But one Sunday morning in 1959, an educator asked him to replace him for 15 minutes, the time to go and drink a cannon.
He does not dare refuse and finds himself supervising a team of chicks.
It's the click, love at first sight.
“I liked the human side,” he says.
The quarter of an hour will finally last more than 60 years.
A title of champion, two French Cups and two European trophies.
Barely of age, he already combines the functions of educator and manager. In 1977, "at the request of the elders", he became president of the JSF. Always to respect their memory, he decides to dissolve the first team, guilty of disrespecting certain essential values in his eyes, in 1986. He suggests to his son Pascal to start from scratch and to become a coach. It will be the beginning of an incredible epic which will see Nanterre swallow up divisions like a kid sweets. Pro B champion in 2011, the club has been playing elite for ten years and has built a rich track record with a title of Pro A champion in 2013, two French Cups (2014 and 2017), two European trophies (2015 and 2017).
Jean Donnadieu also passed on his love for this club to his whole family.
Besides Pascal and Frédéric, the grandchildren all have a license in Nanterre.
Kevin and Lucas, Pascal's sons, are educators, Matéo, Frédéric's son, plays with the Hopes.
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If he will no longer be on the front line, Jean Donnadieu will keep a close eye on the development of his club and will be "present if necessary".
He becomes an honorary member of the board of directors.
The fact that it is Frédéric who succeeds him should allow a smooth transition, should not cause a revolution of palates and will reassure the partners of the club.
Sports policy will remain the prerogative of Pascal Donnadieu, who will have to find another assistant after the departure of Franck Le Goff.
“Jeannot” and his wife Jeannette, who took care of the refreshment bar for a long time on match nights, will finally be able to enjoy their second home more often in their native Brittany, in the pretty port of Locmariaquer located in the heart of the Gulf of Morbihan. A house where he installed a basketball hoop a few years ago. With the Donnadieu, basketball is never far away.