Billy Donovan is the men’s basketball coach of the Florida Gators, and has had the most success in Gainesville than any other coach in Gators history.
Donovan has had NBA rumors following him through the years, but after making the Final Four in 2014 and proving his worth as a big-time collegiate coach, there can be an argument that there isn’t much left to do at the college level.
The Gators have tried their best to keep Donovan at Florida, but that still may not be enough.
Here is what you need to know about Donovan and the NBA rumors:
1. The Orlando Magic & Denver Nuggets are Interested in Donovan
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that Donovan is interested in listening to NBA offers and possibly making a jump to the pros. This isn’t the first time that Donovan is interested in looking to move onto the NBA.
Hell, this isn’t even the first time that the Orlando Magic — the closest NBA team to Gainesville, Florida — are interested in hiring Donovan. The Nuggets fired head coach Brian Shaw back in March and have a predominantly young team, which would be a good situation for Donovan to start with.
2. Donovan Became Florida’s Head Coach in 1996
In March 1996, University of Florida basketball coach Lon Kruger — current Oklahoma Sooners head coach — resigned to take the same position at the University of Illinois. Donovan, a Rick Pitino disciple, was hired shortly after.
Donovan has been with Florida for 20 seasons and has amassed much success with the program. The 49-year-old recorded his 500th career win in February, joining Bobby Knight as the only college basketball coaches to reach the milestone before turning 50.
3. He Is 1 of 4 Head Coaches to Win Multiple National Championships in that Time Frame
Donovan has been to four Final Fours and won back-to-back National Championships in 2006 and 2007. Since Donovan was hired in 1996, only four head coaches have won multiple National Championships in that same time frame — Coach K (Duke, 2001 and 2010), Roy Williams (North Carolina, 2005 and 2009) and Jim Calhoun (1999, 2004 and 2011). Pitino won National Championships in 1996 and 2013, but his Championship in 1996 came before Donovan was officially hired.
Here are the rest of Donovan’s accomplishments:
2 NCAA Division I Tournament Championships
4 NCAA Regional Championships – Final Four
(2000, 2006, 2007, 2014)
4 SEC Tournament Championships
(2005, 2006, 2007, 2014)
6 SEC Regular Season Championships
(2000, 2001, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014)
3-time SEC Coach of the Year
(2011, 2013, 2014)
7 Elite Eights
(2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
8 Sweet Sixteens
(1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
14 NCAA Tournament bids
(1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
4. Donovan ‘Accepted’ …Then Backed Out of the Magic Job Once Already
In June 2007, coming off winning his 2nd National Championship, the Orlando Magic offered Donovan their head coaching job and he accepted.
…and then changed his mind days later. The Magic job eventually went to Stan Van Gundy who took the team to the 2009 NBA Finals. Van Gundy is the current head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Donovan decided to stay in Florida.
5. The Gators Extended Donovan’s Contract Until 2020.
On the day where Stein reported that Donovan would listen to offers, he signed an extension with Florida that extends him for one more season until 2020 and would pay him $4 million annually — a slight bump in his final year.
He may not make it to the final year of his deal.