The Shmoel “Sam” Doner Scholarship

What is the Scholarship?

The Westfield State Foundation is pleased to offer a new scholarship to an incoming female student pursuing a degree in Math or Education.

A group of very grateful parents and families of the Bay State Jaguars, a premiere basketball team in the Boston area, have established the Shmoel “Sam” Doner Scholarship at Westfield State University in honor of a coach who has made a significant impact on the lives of their daughters.

This scholarship honors Shmoel “Sam” Doner, a member of the Westfield State Men’s basketball team & graduate of the Class of 1999. Sam has made it his life’s work to teach, educate, motivate, train & encourage countless young female and male athletes to become competent women and men both on and off the court.

This scholarship was created to honor Sam’s endeavors with the Bay State Jaguars and High School teams and to recognize the many lives he has touched.  Sam is currently a seventh grade math teacher at the Walsh Middle School in Framingham, Ma. as well as the varsity men’s basketball coach at Natick High School in Natick, MA

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Sam continues to coach young women through AAU basketball for the Bay State Jaguars where he has had tremendous success both locally & nationally. Sam has had several nationally ranked teams compete annually, resulting in many of his basketball students going on to play at the college level.


Sam was such a significant mentor to both of my girls and pivotal to each of their success!  Sam’s ability to communicate to his players on their level to a point where the kids want to succeed at every task or drill or game they play in with him.  Both my girls would work diligently on their skills and drills when they were young to a point of exhaustion just so they could show up at the next practice and show Sam they had mastered the skill or drill!  In the end, Sam not only taught my girls great basketball skills and abilities but he taught them a tremendous work ethic, communication skills, character as well as how to be a great teammate and person!  I am proud of the people my daughters have become and feel Sam has helped develop each of them both as solid Division 1 basketball players as well as good people.

Kevin Daley


Why The Scholarship:

For years Sam Doner has impacted the lives of so many players and their families, we want to honor and appreciate his contribution to this sport and to us and to perpetuate his legacy.

Sam Doner has perfected the formula for creating extraordinary basketball players. In basketball, like mathematics, the basic skills and drills must be mastered in order for one to truly begin to excel. Sam has the ability to break down and teach the most important aspects of the game to anyone willing to learn. His methods for teaching the exact same skill vary from player to player and make his approach to teaching/coaching basketball almost mystical. Sam’s ideas and ability to impart them are simply different from anyone else out there. His unique programs include fifth-graders to Division 1 college players all working out together. However, Sam has moved way beyond the traditional one drill at a time for everybody approach to focus on the needs of individual players. His clinics are described as: “There is no class system, based on gender, age or skill level. Sam makes it work. ““He really puts his heart and soul in it.’’ “He’ll take the most unskilled player and improve them to the point that you won’t even recognize them on the court within a matter of weeks’’.

When you first experience one of Sam Doner’s clinics, either as an observer or as a participant, you will instantly be in awe and can’t help but be blown away. The combination of his genius, the way he can motivate kids and his ability to give players the exact drill they need to improve… is truly an amazing thing.

For of all of these reasons, Sam Doner is the best clinician and skill developer in youth basketball. Without fail he is able to motivate and achieve “buy in” from his players, driving his athletes to perform at the highest level they are capable of. Sam creates a very safe & positive environment for his players and they succeed because they have no fear of failure.  He genuinely believes in every player. He is able to exact dramatic improvement from several players simultaneously because he is not married to the philosophy that everybody has to do the same drills at the same time. His goal is to turn every kid into a skilled player and not a piece of any particular system. Sam’s philosophy for Doner Elite Basketball is clearly stated when he says “I let the kids play free, let them believe in themselves. I want to give them a work ethic that will stay with them the rest of their lives. “

At the end of the day the improvement in basketball skills and self-concept is unmatched.

Sam Doner has provided high quality coaching, training and skill development for young basketball players. Through hard work and dedication we have developed a track record of consistently turning out tremendous players who have gone on to play Collegiately and professionally. See Our Players At The Next Level!

As seasons end, so many players and families are looking for a way say good bye and to express appreciation to Sam.

Kevin Daley has two daughters that were coached under Sam and as his daughter Emilee went thru the recruiting process he learned quite a bit about how scholarships work. He then reached out to Sam’s Alma Mater, Westfield State to discuss establishing a scholarship in Sam’ honor and  together the Shmoel “Sam” Doner Scholarship was founded.

The Scholarship was established in 2014 with an initial amount of just over $13,000!  We are pleased to say there are two students so far that have been the recipients of Sam’s scholarship!

Every year WSU has a Sweet Success gala. This past year Sam was there to there to meet the recipient & listen to other key note student speakers talk about the impact of scholarships like Sam’s that assist in making their educational dreams come true!!!


What Will The Scholarship Do?

The goal of the Shmoel “Sam” Doner Scholarship is to provide an annual award to a female high school senior or incoming freshman who reflects the leadership skills and strong work ethic of Coach Doner. Preference will be given to applicants planning to pursue a degree at Westfield State University in the areas of Mathematics or Education.

  • Applicant's Personal Information

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  • Essay Guidelines
    In 500 words, discuss how you demonstrate leadership skills and a strong work ethic through the activities that you are involved in inside or outside of the classroom.

    Return completed application form to:
    Westfield State Foundation, Inc. Attention: Lisa McMahon, P.O. Box 1630, 2 Broad St., Westfield, MA 01086-1630.
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The Shmoel “Sam” Doner Scholarship Application 2017 Academic Year

The goal of the Shmoel “Sam” Doner Scholarship is to provide an annual award to a female high school senior or incoming freshman planning to attend Westfield State University who reflects many of the characteristics of Coach Doner.


Applicant must be a current high school senior or incoming freshman that demonstrates leadership qualities and a strong work ethic both in and out of the classroom. Preference will be given to applicants who are female high school seniors or incoming freshman planning to pursue a degree in Mathematics or Education at Westfield State University.


Our goal is to grow this scholarship each and every year so that we can continue to give back more each and every year.  In closing, the intention of this gift was to have it be as ever lasting as Sam’s lessons to our girls and we believe we are on the road to accomplishing this!

If players or their families are interested in donating to the scholarship they can make their checks out to “The Westfield State Foundation” and in the memo write “Sam” Doner Scholarship Fund”, any amount is appreciated, they can mail their checks to:

Westfield State Foundation, Inc.
2 Broad Street, PO Box 1630
Westfield, MA 01086

Make a Donation Online

Our contact person at WSU is Lisa McMahon who’s email is

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact

David Bikofsky

Doner Elite Basketball