Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bye, Bye Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan has resigned from being the men's head basketball coach at the University of Florida.

One really can't blame Donovan for leaving to try coaching at the next level the NBA. After a sub par season with the Gators last season he was going to have a challenge there. Likewise with the Oklahoma City Thunder he will have a challenge. You can read about him joining the Thunder here from an article by USA Today.

I wasn't taking a shot at the Coach. As a college basketball fan I have nothing but respect for the man. As a Gator fan I love what he has done with the program. I feel sorry for the Gators next coach. It is always a difficult challenge to follow a legend and that is exactly what the coach will be doing.

At the college level and mostly at Florida Billy Donovan has had a Hall of Fame career. He certainly has become a legend. In 21 years of College Basketball head coaching he has compiled a 502-206 record. His first two seasons were with Marshall Thundering Herd.

His stats are quite impressive at the University of Florida. In his 19 years at the school he delivered two National Championships and four Final Four Appearances. In the 77 years of Gator basketball before Billy the Kid arrived they had only gone to one Final Four and zero National Championships. Before Donovan the Gators had only won one Conference Championship and zero conference tournament. Billy guided them to six SEC Championships and four conference tournament championships.The best stat for his legacy might be that he averaged 24.6 wins a season in the 77 years before him the team averaged 11.5.

Beyond the stats Billy Donovan knew the game and spoke intelligently about it. He developed nine first round NBA picks. He was a coach who delivered and as a fan you always had hope for your team with Billy Donovan being courtside. Donovan turned a football school into a basketball power. The Blue and Orange of Gator Country will certainly miss him! I look forward to see how he meets his next challenge and wish him the best of luck with the Oklahoma City Thunder!

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