In his six seasons as head coach of the Grizzlies, Donovan had a 25-38-1 record and only one winning season. On November 25, 1985, Athletic Director Harley Lewis announced that the contracts of Donovan and eight of his assistants would not be renewed. Donovan believed that he had been unjustly fired and blamed the antiquated Dornblaser Field for his lack of success in recruiting. His requests for a new stadium resulted in the construction of Washington-Grizzly Stadium, which opened in 1986.
Donovan's next coaching job was as the defensive line coach for the BC Lions. On October 30, 1987, head coach Don Matthews was fired and Donovan was named interim head coach. The Lions went 4-0 after the coaching change and finished the season in first place in the Canadian Football League West Division. In his first full season as head coach, the Lions had a 10-8 record and made it to the Grey Cup, losing to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 22-21. The Lions struggled in 1989 and Donovan was fired after an 0-4 start.
Donovan was an assisted Coach for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in 1990 and 1991.
He traveled to Japan to Coach the Japanese X League Hurricanes sponsored by Hitachi Limited and Renesas Technologies from 1992 until 2007. He was a Training Camp Coach and Consultant for the Asahi Beverage Challengers in Osaka, Japan in 2010.