Produced in 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, and Ed Malloy.  In 1989, Donaghy graduated from Villanova University with a diploma in sales and marketing. While at Villanova, he played on the college’s baseball team. According to the National Basketball Referee’s Association, Donaghy participated and won All-Catholic and All-Delaware County honors in baseball and also All-Delaware County honors in basketball during high school, but –Villanova baseball coach George Bennett contends that Donaghy did not perform on the varsity team and that no records indicate that he was chosen to the All-Catholic team in baseball or named to the All-Delaware County basketball team.
Donaghy and his wife Kimberly married at 1995. They have four daughters. Back in September, 2007 Kim filed for divorce.
Officiating career Before officiating in the NBA, Donaghy spent five years officiating at Pennsylvania high school basketball and seven seasons at 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 engaged in an event at 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 the Portland Trail Blazers, for throwing a ball in another official during a game. Wallace confronted Donaghy following the match, threatening him, yelling obscenities and, according Donaghy. Wallace was suspended for seven games; this was the longest suspension issued by the league to get the incident not involving violence or medication.