A Century of the Red & Black



Daniel Donati is coming home


Daniel Donati is coming home

September 26, 2023

Old Xaverians Football Club President Matt Cosgrave announced today that Dan Donati has been appointed senior men's coach of the Red ‘n’ Blacks for the 2024 season.

Donati returns to the club to replace James Byrne, who stepped down from his role at the end of season 2023 after four years.

Donati is an OXFC senior premiership player (1996) and a Xavier alumnus (XC95) who has an enviable playing and coaching record. He was most recently involved at our club as an assistant coach from 2018-21.

“I am delighted that Dan Donati will be returning to the Old Xavs as our club coach and taking charge of our senior men's team,” Cosgrave said.

“His record as a head coach is impeccable, and we know he is as highly regarded by our players as he was by his former teammates.

“Dan loves a challenge, and I know he is motivated to do all he can to ensure that we get our hands back on the LA Adamson Cup as soon as possible,” Cosgrave said.

Donati is excited to be back in Red and Black.

“I’ve enjoyed every stop in my time in football and feel very humbled to have experienced what I have so far. The clubs I’ve played with and those I have coached have all tasted success because of the people within them and the amazing work they all do working towards a common goal,” Donati said.

“I have established and retained strong relationships with many hard-working club servants at every stage. Still, to come home now is pretty special. I am a Xavier person through and through, and the opportunity to help take the Xavs back towards the top of the VAFA was one I found irresistible.

“I know many of the players who played this year from my time spent as an assistant coach from 2018-2021, and I look forward to reacquainting myself with them and with any new players when we get rolling again in November,” he said.

Donati has had enviable success in community football as both a coach and player.

As a player:

Donati began his playing career with an Old Xavs U19s premiership in 1996, and two weeks later, he played in the senior premiership as well.

He was drafted by Richmond, for whom he managed one senior game in 1997, but played in the Tigers Twos flag in front of a near-capacity MCG crowd.

Dan played and won another flag at Springvale in the VFL in 1999, then went to West Adelaide in the SANFL before returning home to Melbourne, where he played with Old Xavs again before finishing his playing career at Noble Park in the EFL. He was seven seasons there (and won a couple more premierships), as well as captaining the club before retiring in 2008.

As a coach:

He was an assistant coach at Lara in the GFL from 2009-2011. His hopes of playing again were dashed when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in a pre-season game in 2009.

His first senior appointment was at EFL club Balwyn in 2012, where he began pre-season with just 13 players remaining from the previous campaign. Remarkably, his charges played in five grand finals in as many years, winning back-to-back flags in 2012/13 and 2015/16.

Donati then decided to concentrate on his business and stepped back into an assistant coaching role with Old Xaverians for 2018 and 2019 and the partial seasons of 2020/21.

He won a premiership coaching Barwon Heads in 2022 before coaching Old Brighton in 2023.

We welcome Daniel back to the Old Xaverians.