Tag: Billy Donovan


Donovan family thanks Florida fan base in full-page ad

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In late April Billy Donovan accepted an offer to become the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, thus ending a two-decade run as head coach at Florida. During his time in Gainesville, Donovan led the Gators to two national titles, four Final Four appearances, seven Elite Eights (including a stretch of four straight years from 2011-14), six SEC regular season titles and four SEC tournament titles.

source: Getty Images

To say that he accomplished a great deal in Gainesville would be a major understatement, especially when considering the program’s history prior to his arrival.

Yet for as great of an impact that Donovan and his family had on the school, its basketball program and fan base, those who support the Gators impacted the Donovans as well. Sunday the family thanked the fan base in the form of a full-page ad in the Gainesville Sun, which can be seen in the embedded tweet above.

Their message read as follows:

“GOODBYE” is so difficult, especially after having spent two decades in this community. (And as you’ve seen before, leaving you all has never been easy for us!)

“The University of Florida and Gainesville embraced us from the day we arrived so long ago, and we have grown to love not only this local community that has so loved us, but all of Gator Nation — from Crescent Beach to Cedar Key, from Miami to New York, from Jacksonville to San Fransisco, to all over the nation and globe.

“We are so grateful to Jeremy Foley, staff and leaders at the University of Florida, along with scores of players and coaches who have become part of our family. And, of course, the Rowdy Reptiles.

We leave with hearts full of love and cherished memories of euphoria and heartbreak — on and off the court — shared at every step with our Gator family.

We are excited for all that Mike White brings as he puts his own unique mark on Florida basketball…Fannnnntastic!

And so, rather than goodbye, …until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

— Billy and Christine Donovan

They were sure to allude to Donovan’s first “dance” with the NBA, as he accepted an offer from the Orlando Magic in 2007 before changing his mind and deciding to return to Florida. This time around, the opportunity to coach a team led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was too enticing to pass up.

h/t The Dagger

Miami assistant Eric Konkol to be named Louisiana Tech head coach

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Eric Konkol, the longtime assistant for Jim Larranaga, will reportedly take the reins of his own program.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN and Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported just after midnight on Sunday that Konkol had agreed to terms to become Louisiana Tech’s head coach.

Konkol will replace Michael White, who filled the vacancy at Florida after future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan jumped to the NBA.

Parrish reported that North Florida’s Matt Driscoll, Oklahoma assistant Steve Henson and Baylor assistant Jerome Tang were among the other candidates. Current and former Louisiana Tech players had used social media to push for assistant coach Dusty May to get the job.

Konkol has served as an assistant for Larranaga at both Miami and George Mason.

Assigned Reading: How Jeremy Foley found his new head coach

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How athletic directors handle head coaching searches is one of the more interesting aspects of collegiate athletics. With the rise of search firms, some lean upon those outlets to not only establish connections but also narrow down the field of possible candidates for the opening.

But not all athletic directors use firms to do the legwork, either doing the work themselves or with the aid of a committee consisting of others within the athletic department and school community. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley had a committee to help him through the process following Billy Donovan’s decision to take the Oklahoma City Thunder job, but this search began to take shape even before Donovan made the move.

Chris Harry of Gatorzone.com (the school’s official athletics website) wrote a story breaking down the entire process that led to Foley offering the job to then-Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White.

Even with season-ending injuries to reigning MVP Kevin Durant and defensive whiz Serge Ibaka, rumors that OKC coach Scott Brooks’ job was in jeopardy had been circulating for months and that Donovan, with his brilliant offensive acumen, would be attractive replacement. Thunder general manager Sam Presti, along with his metrics analyst Oliver Winterbone, who served from 2010-14 as Donovan’s video coordinator, had visited Gainesville in February and attended Gators practices, shoot-arounds and a couple games.

They likely weren’t there four days to scout Chris Walker.

The Thunder’s regular season ended April 15, as the team missed the playoffs via a tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans. Speculation immediately amped regarding Brooks’ job, which meant the Gators further readied their just-in-case list of coaches in the likely event OKC came after Donovan.

The full story of how Florida made its decision can be read here.