Charlie swam competitively from the age of 5 until he was 22. Charlie fondly recalls the early days when he and his siblings competed in the Catherine Shockley (HOF 1988) meets at Branford Point and plunging into Branford Harbor from a raft as well as swimming for the Indian Point Club. Charlie loved those summer meets competing against the Pine Orchard and Double Beach Clubs.
Charlie was a competitive AAU age group swimmer and competed not only in Connecticut but traveled to Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. Charlie started his age group career with the Yale Swim Club where one of his coaches was George Miles (HOF 2003) as well as Robert Issaac and Bob Burns. Charlie’s age group accomplishments really took off while swimming for the Meriden Marlins and then training under Frank Keefe and Al Laprino with the New Haven Swim Club. Charlie earned All-Star status and still has the jacket to prove it. In 1979 Charlie went off to private school but returned to Branford for his junior and senior years and was fortunate enough to compete on both the boys swim and track teams under the leadership of John O’Connor (HOF1995) and David Johnson, respectively. Charlie made All-Housatonic in both swimming and track (1500 meters 4:28) his senior year and was a co-captain for both teams. Charlie was an All-State swimmer in both 1982 and 1983 as well as competing in the State Open meet in both sports. Jim McVeigh (HOF 1996) once wrote “Donohue’s success in the two sports helps dispel the myth that an athlete must concentrate on one sport if he or she is to excel”.
As a co-captain with Bob Hayden in the 82-83 season, Charlie and his teammate, Dave Redden (HOF 2015), lead the team to their first Class M State Swimming Championship title, the Team was inducted into the Hall in 2007. During that meet Charlie had an out of mind first place 200 IM swim of 1:59.01 which established a new school and Class M State Record. Charlie anchored the 400 freestyle relay at the end of the meet and touched out the Foran relay team by 2/100ths of a second to tie Foran for the meet and become co-champs. So many of his teammates from the early days of swimming at IP, PO and Stingrays contributed to make this possible. When Charlie graduated, he held the school records for the 200 individual medley, 100 yard freestyle, the 100 yard breaststroke and 400 yard free relay team. The 200 IM school record stood for 25 years. Charlie was the recipient of the Most Valuable Swimmer, Leader and Scholar awards. At Graduation, Charlie was presented with the Rotary Club award as the Senior selected who best combines a high degree of ability with the qualities of the Rotary Club motto “service above self”. Charlie has embraced this philosophy throughout his career.
After graduating from Branford, Charlie attended Tufts University where he swam for Don Megerle and continued to excel in the individual medley events where he was repeatedly a New England finalist and was a co-captain his senior year. On a whim during his college career, Charlie grabbed his buddy Patrick Conroy as his dinghy escort and competed in the 2.4 mile New Haven Cross Harbor Swim, from Lighthouse Point Park to the West Haven side of the Harbor. Charlie actually won by overtaking Bob Naylor from East Haven in the last several hundred yards. Charlie graduated from Tufts in 1987 with a BA in Political Science with a focus on environmental issues. He opened the door at Tufts for Branford swimmers and today 14 Branford HS swimmers have competed in swimming and graduated from Tufts including Branford Hall of Famer inductees Jennifer Lincoln Boyd, Jeff O’Connor and Owen Rood.
Charlie completed a MS degree in Natural Resource Management from Antioch University and he then began a journey working on natural resource issues that took him to the Sierras out west, the Rift Valley in Kenya – East Africa and back to Nevada. Charlie has served as the Administrator of the Nevada Division of State Lands and State Land Registrar since his appointment in 2014 by Governor Sandoval. In this capacity, Charlie is responsible for the acquisition and disposal of state land and oversight of its management and use by third parties. Charlie started his state service in 2001 with the Division of Conservation Districts prior to joining the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team in 2003. He was the Water Quality Program Specialist on the team and later the Tahoe Program Manager coordinating the implementation of the Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) for Nevada at Lake Tahoe.
Charlie has lived in Reno since 1999 with his wife Rain (Branford Field Hockey – 83) and their adult son Seamus. His mother Gerry Donohue is a retired Branford Reading Teacher that now lives in Hingham, MA. Charlie enjoys adventuring in the Great Basin and taking advantage of the recreational opportunities the Sierras afford. Charlie is an avid telemark skier, enjoys mountain biking and still gets on the pitch to play ultimate frisbee.