FanDuel - WFBC

June 04, 2007

Do over!: Billy Donovan wants out of his brand new 5-year, $27.5 million contract to return to the University of Florida, and it appears the Orlando Magic are going to allow him to leave. Rumor has it that former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy could be Donovan's replacement.

posted by The_Black_Hand to basketball at 04:58 AM - 34 comments

Talk about great news (well, for some of us, anyway)! I kept hearing from friends back in FL that he hadn't signed the contract yet, that it wasn't official, that there was still hope, so I hadn't given up yet. Welcome back, Billy!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:05 AM on June 04

Wow, I predicted Donovan would flame in 2-4 years and go back to college. Nobody thought he would flame in 2-4 days! It would be justice for UF to tell him to stick it in his ear.

posted by FonGu at 05:05 AM on June 04

If they take him back at UF, that's it, he has to make that his legacy gig and finish his career there. They can name the gym floor after him while he's still coaching. Sure looked strange seeing him speaking in front of an Amway backdrop the other day in Orlando. But honestly, last night, I became intrigued by the prospect of UF not letting him back, and going hard with Anthony Grant. I'm not sure that wouldn't be a better move under the circumstances. Not to diss Billy, but just to boldly seize the moment. Poor Orlando - the contract terms were made public and now they will have to overpay the next guy, and whatever they offer will seem like fast food money compared to the Donovan package.

posted by beaverboard at 06:59 AM on June 04

Why leave a championship program in college to go to a losing program in the NBA? Must be to prove you can turn around any program and are one of the greats.I'm glad Donovan "came to his senses"and Orlando is classy enough to release.As for the money,how much do you need?

posted by sickleguy at 07:43 AM on June 04

You're right, sickleguy, it was a classy move by Orlando to let him out of his committment. C'mon, Billy, grow up and start figuring out what you, yourself, want to do with your life (not what everyone else thinks you should do) and hopefully you won't toy with the emotions of another city, it's team, fans, etc. Looks like he's destined to be a college coach for life, not that that's a bad thing at all.

posted by dyams at 07:52 AM on June 04

Just heard on ESPN Radio that the suits from the Magic are still talking to Billy Donovan about staying with Orlando and hoping he commits to the contract. There is no definate answer to what is going on but it appears that this 'source close to the situation' may have been too quick on the trigger on making this public. The execs from the Magic are hoping that Billy changes his mind so let's wait and see what happens and hopefully the Magic can avoid further embarrassment. Why leave a championship program in college to go to a losing program in the NBA? The Magic are a team on the rise and a playoff contender. With the right direction, who knows? The Orlando Magic, with Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson are a young team that needs the right coach and the skies the limit.

posted by BornIcon at 07:52 AM on June 04

As much as I hate FL (UGA grad here), I don't see any reason why they shouldn't let Donovan back. If he comes back to FL, so what? People change their minds all the time- he had a one-night affair with the NBA and is ready to come back. I promise you those fans will be thankful and all will be forgotten with a few successful seasons.

posted by jmd82 at 08:25 AM on June 04

This is tacky and wishy-washy. Aren't you supposed to make the decision BEFORE you have press conferences and make announcements?

posted by bperk at 08:42 AM on June 04

I've been in Orlando the past weekend, and the response here to Donovan's hire was huge. Wall-to-wall radio coverage and lead story play in the paper. The consensus view has been that it's the biggest moment in the history of the team (though I think drafting Shaq was bigger). If he follows through with his decision to renege on the deal, it has to be the most embarrassing moment for the franchise. What a mess. The person leaking Donovan's moment of indecision must have a huge ax to grind.

posted by rcade at 08:53 AM on June 04

How did he make the job disappear? It's Magic! Leroy Rosenior's record is safe.

posted by tommytrump at 09:27 AM on June 04

"Why leave a championship program in college to go to a losing program in the NBA?" Seriously, we have to dignify this with a response? Umm, why leave AA ball for the Majors? If not Donovan, does it have to be a VanGundy... Stan even. Aww, crap.

posted by LostInDaJungle at 09:36 AM on June 04

Donovan would probably be another in a long line of coaches who were successful in college and sucked in the pros. You have to love a guy who says I want to stay at Florida forever, no wait, I want to coach in the pros, no wait, I changed my mind! Actually, if I were Florida, I would have said, take a hike. You didn't want to be here, we don't want you here. But of course, Florida caves in because they can't get anyone decent to coach them besides Donovan. Let the wimp go back and coach college because he definitely couldn't cut it in the NBA.

posted by bry66 at 09:56 AM on June 04

I have read a few articles about this already. I don't recall which, but one of them said that even though VanGundy doesn't look as good in a suit, he would probably be a better choice as a pro coach. Stay in the college ranks, Donovan. That looks like way more fun.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:18 AM on June 04

Florida caves in because they can't get anyone decent to coach them besides Donovan. Good call. They've won two National Championships in a row, you can bet nobody wants to take the helm of that death ship. What are you, on dope? Besides rcade, I'm guessing there are a few SpoFites in the Orlando area who can clue us in a little more, but my Sunshine State cronies tell me that Donovan got a good look at the ownership, and thought, ye gods, what have I done? Apparently, even though the deal was announced, it was never signed, leaving him the opportunity to back out of a verbal agreement before it became a written contract. Again, this is all secondhand, so it could turn out to be utter crap.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 11:44 AM on June 04

"Why leave a championship program in college to go to a losing program in the NBA?" Seriously, we have to dignify this with a response? Umm, why leave AA ball for the Majors? Wait, why is sickleguy not making a valid statement? Why would he leave a good thing for something with much greater uncertainty? Your assertion that the NCAA is equivalent to AA baseball is misguided at best, especially when used in the context of coaching. Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun, Jim Boehiem, Roy Williams - all these guys should ultimately be grooming themselves for NBA jobs?

posted by YukonGold at 11:46 AM on June 04

This is tacky and wishy-washy. Aren't you supposed to make the decision BEFORE you have press conferences and make announcements? Was there ever a press conference? I thought this was just on reports from team sources. Good call. They've won two National Championships in a row, you can bet nobody wants to take the helm of that death ship. What are you, on dope? True, but the timing of this whole mess has severely limited the number of available coaches. I don't, however, think that Florida takind Donovan back is caving in.

posted by bender at 12:05 PM on June 04

Maybe Donovan started watching the play-offs and realized how much of a farce the league is becoming and decided to work somewhere where the players dont bitch and whine, refs dont treat superstars special, and the league doesn't interfere with the actual playing of the game to manipulate who moves on and how it happens. VanGundy would probably be a better coach, I wish my Pacers had hired him. Is that blasphemy to say that??? But considering who they hired, O'Brien, a loser at Philly and Boston, me thinks not.

posted by dezznutz at 12:37 PM on June 04

The best news is that Grant will then still be at VCU.... if you are following all of the fall out..

posted by Fly_Piscator at 12:39 PM on June 04

Some sources confirm what T_B_H is saying - that when the initial excitement died down, Donovan looked at his new surroundings and didn't like what he saw in the overall franchise picture. Not sure if that means that he would still like an NBA job, just not this one. Or whether he went for this one just because it was nearby and the dollar amounts became so obscene, he couldn't say no. If he is allowed to go back to UF, he'll have that challenge he says he wants. Recruits wondering whether or not he's for real, and road games with 10,000 people wearing Mickey Mouse ear hats, etc. The way this has developed, he'd almost be better off standing up straight, admitting his mistakes and walking away from both jobs. Take some time off, regroup, recharge, wait for another opportunity elsewhere. (But DON'T do any broadcasting in the meantime.) Something tells me Pitino called Donovan sometime late Friday and revisited the tale of leaving Kentucky. Which Pitino to this day says was a mistake.

posted by beaverboard at 12:42 PM on June 04

Was there ever a press conference? I thought this was just on reports from team sources. Pretty sure that was Donovan's greased-out mug I saw in front of an Orlando Magic backdrop this weekend, with microphones all around and him exclaiming his delight at being part of the Orlando Magic "family". ...even though the deal was announced, it was never signed, leaving him the opportunity to back out of a verbal agreement before it became a written contract. While technically correct, I suppose, the majority of the responsibility for this debacle is on Donovan's shoulders, not on some leaking unnamed team source. If all he had was a verbal agreement, why is there talk of possible monetary restitution from Donovan if he backs out and everyone is claiming that Orlando shows class if they "let him out of the contract". Even if those details turn out to be non-issues - don't agree to a frickin' press conference if you haven't been officially hired yet! He's shown a pretty poor lack of judgment through this. Having said that, I otherwise couldn't blame him (if he handled it remotely properly) - he's deservedly pretty much able to write his own ticket at UF.

posted by littleLebowski at 12:50 PM on June 04

O'Brien, a loser at Philly and Boston 2001 Jim O'Brien 49 - 33 (Playoffs) 9 - 7 2002 Jim O'Brien 44 - 38 (Playoffs) 4 - 6

posted by YukonGold at 12:51 PM on June 04

VanGundy would probably be a better coach, I wish my Pacers had hired him The Pacers did offered Stan Van Gundy the head coach position but he turned it down.

posted by BornIcon at 12:51 PM on June 04

So Stan might take the Orlando job to keep from uprooting his family as opposed to the (what I would think) better job in Indiana? I still say he would be a better pro coach than Donovan.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:23 PM on June 04

I still say he would be a better pro coach than Donovan. Why do you think so?

posted by bperk at 01:30 PM on June 04

I don't know, really. I think that the dynamics of being a pro coach are so much different. I think, for one, that college kids seem to "get with program" so to speak more so than pro's, who seem to me to be more self-motivated. I'm not saying that Donovan doesn't have a great basketball mind, just that I don't think the lessons that he would teach would translate as well in an NBA environment. I guess it's a gut feeling.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:40 PM on June 04

The core of that Magic team would be younger than the team he just coached to a National Championship. That doesn't strike me as a bad fit. I too have heard that the second thoughts are rumored to stem from the management of the Magic, not the prospect of coaching in the NBA.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:12 PM on June 04

Besides rcade, I'm guessing there are a few SpoFites in the Orlando area who can clue us in a little more, but my Sunshine State cronies tell me that Donovan got a good look at the ownership, and thought, ye gods, what have I done? Maybe he looked at the arena. I drove by again today on the way out of town, and one side still says "T.D. Waterhouse Centre" because the tarp covering it fell down. To me, all of this hangs on Donovan. He accepted the deal, gave a huge press conference and lives close enough to Orlando to understand how the franchise has been managed. He's embarrassing both the Magic and the U. of Florida with this waffle.

posted by rcade at 02:43 PM on June 04

I wonder where Donovan's agent has been throughout all of this. For what agents get paid, I figure they should be doing the advance work, carefully checking out each opportunity as it arises. The dubious ownership/management/coaching history of the Magic is no big secret. Anyone with a bit of diligence and initiative should have been able to reach the conclusion that it was probably not a move that Donovan would really want to make. Before he was named and introduced. The vision of those Orlando dollars must have been absolutely blinding...

posted by beaverboard at 02:48 PM on June 04

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Donovan signed the contract and now is looking for lawyers to find a way to void it. When he decided he was unsure about the job, he didn't even tell the Magic this personally. His agent called GM Otis Smith to break the news at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

posted by rcade at 02:51 PM on June 04

If the prospect of coaching in the NBA doesn't scare him off, why wouldn't he consider one of the other pro vacancies before immediately returning to the U of F?

posted by THX-1138 at 02:59 PM on June 04

Because the Magic would sue his ass off. I can't see the team letting him go anywhere but Florida.

posted by rcade at 03:04 PM on June 04

Yeah. That's fer sure. I guess the greater point is why are Donovan and Saban such weasly jerks. Because of the money,money,money, money. (I threw Saban in just because)

posted by THX-1138 at 03:40 PM on June 04

I still say he would be a better pro coach than Donovan. Why do you think so? IMO, Stan Van Gundy is a better NBA coach because he actually coached in the NBA before as apposed to Billy Donovan who is better suited for college ball. I don't ever see Billy Donovan coaching in the NBA after this fiasco but everything happens for a reason.

posted by BornIcon at 06:03 AM on June 05

According to the worldwide leader, Stan Van Gundy has accepted the head coaching position with Orlando. I'll can the inclination to rail against a retread hire and say good work Magic.

posted by Newbie Walker at 01:39 AM on June 07

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