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Billy Donovan Stays with Florida Gators

May 23 2014, 3:37am CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

Billy Donovan Stays with Florida Gators
Photo credit: Getty Images
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Florida Gators head men's basketball coach Billy Donovan is staying with the team team after he'd been getting feelers from several NBA teams.

Billy Donovan is staying with the Florida Gators. 

Donovan made this declaration on May 22 after he had been getting feelers from several NBA teams, per Gainesville.com's Kevin Brockway: 

"It's become an annual rite of spring. Flowers bloom. Easter eggs get colored. 

"And Florida coach Billy Donovan's name gets thrown around in connection to NBA coaching openings.

"It's understandable. Donovan has led Florida to four Final Fours in 18 seasons and has developed enough former players currently in the NBA (12) to put his own franchise on the hardwood. 

"But while Donovan admitted he talked to a few NBA teams this offseason, he sounded fully committed to returning to the Gators for his 19th season. 

"'It's always flattering,' Donovan said of the NBA attention. 'But at the same time, I've always said that I'm very happy here and like it here. (Floria athletic director) Jeremy (Foley) has been great here. I like where our program's at and the direction we're going.'" 

Donovan declined to identify which particular NBA teams reached out to him, although ESPN's Brian Windhorst positively identifies one of them as the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft just several days ago. 

"Donovan said Thursday that several NBA teams had called him about openings in recent days but that he still plans to be with the Gators next season. 

"He declined to specify which teams called -- Detroit, Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota, New York and Utah also have openings -- and jokingly cited his brief stint with the Orlando Magic in 2007 as reason for keeping details private. 

"'I have spoken to a couple NBA teams, and that's all I'm going to say,' Donovan said. 'It's always flattering, but at the same time, I've always said that I'm very happy here and I like it here.'

"The Cavs, who have been buoyed after winning the draft lottery this week, have been focusing their search on big-name college candidates in the wake of firing Mike Brown.

"In addition to Donovan, they have tested the interest of Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, sources said. The Cavs also inquired about UConn's Kevin Ollie before he signed a long-term extension to stay with the Huskies."

According to Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers "have not confirmed or denied the (ESPN) report." 

Boyer also notes Cleveland is said to be interested in former NBA head coaches Alvin Gentry and Lionel Hollins.

"The Cavs have reportedly asked the Los Angeles Clippers for permission to speak to associate head coach Alvin Gentry, and another source said there's mutual interest between the Cavs and former Memphis (Grizzlies) coach Lionel Hollins.

"While new general manager David Griffin referred to the coaching search being 'in its infancy' earlier this week, the fact that the Cavs won the draft lottery and earned the No. 1 pick in next month's draft likely has made them more attractive to coaching candidates."

 

Donovan has amassed a 486-189 (.720) coaching record in the NCAA ranks that spans 20 years with the Marshall Thundering Herd and Florida Gators, per Sports-Reference.com. 

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