Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Donovan is doing the right thing

Staying at Florida is the right decision for Billy Donovan.
He sure went about it in the wrong way, accepting a five-year, $27.5 million contract to coach the Orlando Magic that he now reportedly is about to escape.

But the track record of college head coaches who accept NBA jobs indicates that he was making a mistake leaving Gainesville. His mentor, Rick Pitino, was 102-146 with the Boston Celtics.

John Calipari, Tim Floyd and Jerry Tarkanian have won prodigiously in college but flopped in the NBA. Sure, Donovan could have taken over the Magic and cashed big paychecks for a few years even if he couldn’t take Dwight Howard & Co. deep into the playoffs.

After wearing out his welcome in Orlando, he could have spent a year or two as a TV analyst and then become a hot commodity for another big-time college job. In football, Butch Davis followed that same career path, if you substitute Cleveland for Orlando, to become coach at North Carolina, a school with a national name and good facilities.

But Davis’ old Miami Hurricanes job also opened up after last season, and it appears Davis was never a factor. It’s not easy to go home again, and that’s why Donovan is wise to stay at Florida if he’s happy there.

By winning back-to-back NCAA titles, Donovan has established Florida as an SEC power to rival Kentucky, whose job he declined to pursue in April. The Gators might struggle in 2007-08 because they lost all five NCAA champion starters, but their recent success gets them in the door with a lot of top prospects on the recruiting trail.

Donovan’s waffling will cause him embarrassment and probably will infuriate the Magic. But if Orlando gets a proven NBA coach (reports mention Stan Van Gundy), it will be better off.

As for Donovan, Bobby Cremins and Gregg Marshall are thriving after creating similar fiascos by accepting jobs they later turned down.
Donovan will be OK, too. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

He should be banned from the NBA for life!

Anonymous said...

Donovan has proved himself a gutless chump! A man with true character thinks through a decision thoroughly, then makes a commitment and sticks with it. A man who doesn't keep his word is lacking character and is a bad role model. I would not want my son playing for Billy Donovan.