Produced from the Philadelphia suburb of Havertown, Pennsylvania, Donaghy attended Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania and three other NBA referees: Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan, along with Ed Malloy.  In 1989, Donaghy graduated with a degree in marketing and sales. While at Villanova, he played on the baseball team of the school. According to the National Basketball Referee's Association, Donaghy participated and earned All-Catholic and All-Delaware County honors in baseball and All-Delaware County honors in basketball throughout high school, but –Villanova baseball coach George Bennett contends that Donaghy did not play on the varsity team and that no records indicate he was chosen to the All-Catholic team in baseball or appointed to the All-Delaware County baseball staff.
His wife Kimberly was married by donaghy at 1995. They have four brothers. Back in September, 2007 Kim filed for divorce.
Officiating career Before officiating in the NBA, Donaghy spent five years officiating in Pennsylvania high school basketball and seven seasons in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), and he was the head official for the 1993 CBA All-Star Game. The next year, he joined the NBA, where he worked for 13 decades, officiating in 772 regular-season matches and 20 playoff games. Donaghy was a participant in the NBA's Read to Achieve program, where he participated in an event in the Universal Charter school during the 2002 NBA Finals. [ His number was 21.
Donaghy was one of three referees who worked the Pacers–Pistons brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills on November 19, 2004, which ended in a fight between Pacers players and Pistons fans.] During a 2003 regular-season match, Donaghy called a technical foul on Rasheed Wallace, then playing with the Portland Trail Blazers, for throwing a ball in another official during a game. Wallace faced Donaghy after the game, yelling obscenities and, according Donaghy, threatening him. Wallace was suspended for seven games; this is the longest suspension issued from the league to get the incident not involving violence or drugs.
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