Friday, March 30, 2007

Billy Donovan Isn't Going to Kentucky

Cripes, this Billy Donovan story is now ticking me off. Here's the news flash: He's not jumping to Kentucky.

No, I don't have some inside scoop. I simply have common sense plus several years of closely following Donovan's situation. That's all anyone needs to dismiss the rumors of why he'd leave for UK.

(1) Kentucky is going to offer him a $1 million a year raise? I'm sorry: Since when can't Florida match (or exceed) any other offer? They'll make him the highest paid coach in college hoops without blinking.

(2) Kentucky is a better job than Florida? I'm sorry: I'd argue not right now -- but I'll even give you that one. But here's the thing: It's not a better job FOR DONOVAN, not after he has built up Florida into what it is today -- a program superior to UK's... and HIS program.

(3) Donovan hasn't quashed the UK rumors? I'm sorry: What would you like him to do – stop concentrating on the Final Four so he can interview with Kentucky? Or sign an extension with Florida? He has always said he'd handle it during this offseason; he's sticking to his plan.

Let's review: (1) Money isn't an object. (2) The UK job isn't what it used to be as compared to Florida's. (3) Silence is not implicit interest but explicit focus.

At the risk of applying a Quickie jinx: Billy ain't going to Kentucky. He'll either stay at Florida or go to the NBA. (But even if the NBA offers him $5-6 million a year, do not be shocked if Florida offers to match it, putting Billy at roughly twice what Coach K makes. Hey: Market rate. But at that point, it would be about the new challenge, not the money. But I'm even starting to believe that Donovan doesn't REALLY want to coach in the NBA as much as he is intrigued by the idea of coaching in the NBA.)

Now, I'm going to return to nervously waiting for the game. Feel free to continue putting your favorite Simpsons characters, episodes and quotes in the Comments of the post below.

-- D.S.


Kevin said...

Let's see...your case for Donovan not leaving is: 1)The money will probably be about the same, 2)Kentucky may or may not be a better job than Florida, but it's not right for *him*, and 3)He hasn't yet said he's not taking the job.

Pretty compelling case, Dan...

TT said...


Travis said...

hmm DOnovan said he will listen to kentuckys offer. to me thats not just not denying it but actually fueling the rumors

The heroin sheik said...

With boosters like UF has who are loyal, deep pocketed and willing to throw money away it is easy for them to afford paying two coaches 5+mil a year apiece. I can't see him leaving just yet but five years from now I wouldn't be surprised. The rumors though are annoying as hell.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

I think something that has been lost in all of this Final Four talk and the Billy Donovan rumors is that Dan has fallen below Carmelo's 1% on MySpace. He needs 21 new friends to get back to the 1% level. Why is nobody talking about this?

kirby077 said...

Not sure if this has already been posted, but Dan got a mention on in Richard Dietsch's March Media Power Rankings. Number 5!

5. Dan Shanoff, blogger: Former Page 2 columnist-turned-sports blogger had his college basketball screenplay optioned by TeamWorks Media. What's next? Quentin Tarantino editing Fire Joe Morgan?

TJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TJ said...

1) UF will not match an NBA offer in the 5-6 million range. No way. But you're right that UF will easily match anything Kentucky offers.

2) We can't argue this one as it applies to Donovan. It's purely a matter of taste. In UF's favor: it's as easy to recruit at UF now as anywhere, the fans love you obsessively but won't turn if you have a few down years, you're not under the spotlight all year since football takes the fall pressure off, at UF you can become the next Coach K. In UK's favor: mystique, tradition, history, a gigantic arena that fills up everytime, the largest stage in college sports. If he wants to stay a college coach forever, UK could make sense, as (like UF was for Urban) it's the peak position for visibility and coverage and hype.

3) Billy has done a great job of negotiating the rumors. He owes it to himself to listen to UK, so he can't say he's not interested. Well he could say that, but Billy is not Saban. He knows that he could say "UK, no way" and the questions wouldnt go away anyway, so why lie?

Money will not be an issue. And Billy has his entire family in G'ville, has given piles of cash to a Catholic school here where his kid plays for his dad (if I have the story straight). So it will come to not wanting to move his family versus wanting to coach on the biggest college stage in the country.

Personally, I think he stays at UF, because he's not interested in the biggest college stage, but rather he's interested in the NBA stage, and in a few years (after letting interest build and taking a look at what jobs are out there and are the best) he will land in the NBA.

Ron said...

I've never rooted harder for the Quickie Jinx!

The heroin sheik said...

You know I was talking with my dad this morning about Donovan and we both agreed that you must be a bit of a masochist to want to coach at UK. The pressure there is probably the most in any sport. Even when you consistently win and make the tournament every year it won't be enough to satisfy the fan base. C'mon who would want a job where no matter what you do it will never be enough.

I think that there are only a handful of jobs where the expectations are so unreal you are doomed from the start. MY list would be as such:

Bama FB, UK bball, most of the teams in NYC, Brazil's soccer team, possibly ND fball but maybe not so much anymore.

What do y'all think?

Danielle said...

I would add Indiana basketball to that list...I can't think of any more than that.

Unknown said...

Kansas fans all over the country are thinking, "Didn't we convince ourselves of the same thing four years ago?"

The Roy Williams and Billy Donovan situations are very different at their core (Roy went to UNC, never hid the fact that he always wanted to go back - despite the "I'm stayin'" press conference in 2000 - and was heavily influenced by Dean Smith in his decision.) but I can't help but notice a key element that is similar. Roy stayed to coach his best recruiting class (Gooden, Collison, Hinrich). He left when they were done. Billy's losing his "special bunch," as Roy would say. If Billy is ever going to leave UF, this seems like as good a time as any.

70-30 he stays, though. I think the fact UF is his program is the most compelling argument that will keep him there. He'll just be renting UK for a few years if he were to go to Lexington.

Now, if the situation can just affect UF's free throw shooting the Roy's affected KU's four years ago...

Unknown said...

I think one overriding factor about the Kentucky job in particular is that he would now be going head-to-head with his best friend Pitino. The rivalry between those two schools would ultimately disallow them to co-exist regardless of what they actually wanted. I doubt BD wants to bring this into their relationship.

adnteh said...

In my opinion, he hasn't quashed the rumors because:
a. He's savvy and knows it will get him leverage for a max raise, or
b. He remembers the Saban situation and doesn't want to be crucified for telling fans what they want to hear as opposed to the truth--that he doesn't know

jhawkjjm said...

dustin beat me too it. In 200 Roy gave his favorite "I'm staying" press conference where he said he'ld leave only when he's dead or they fire him. 4 years later after the National title game his famous "I don't give a shit about North Carolina". But his senior class of 2 final fours was leaving and he was looking at a down year (by KU standards). He left for Carolina.

Yes he was going home, but Donovan would be going home in some way as well, as he was an assistant there. His title runs are over and faces a rebuilding period. (No Florida is not in the "reload" class yet.) All he has to say is "No", but he hasn't yet. So either he's playing Florida for a big raise, wants Kentucky, or wants NBA. Dan, your post is that of a desperate man. You're denying it so strongly because you realize that its very possible.

jhawkjjm said...

wilder- that would only be game a year because they are in different conferences. Bill Self went to Kansas knowing he'ld be playing against his alma mater in OSU. And now he has to play his former assistant Gillispie every year. Now granted moving from UTEP to A&M is a no-brainer for Gillispie and not the same as going from Florida to Kentucky. But the friend arguement doesn't mean much. What might mean something is going from one SEC school to another. Has any coach done that ever in any conference?

Dan Shanoff said...

Hey, everyone: Great points, and I appreciate the disagreements with my arguments. The Roy Williams-Kansas/UNC scenario is one that I've thought a lot about. Tons of similarities, to be sure. The point about being distinctly different conferences (rather than, say, direct in-conference rivals) is a good one to keep in mind. But I don't think that would stop Billy from taking it if it was a job he wanted. I just don't think it'll be a job he wants.

jhawkjjm said...

I don't think money is going to be the issue here, Florida will probably be able to match whatever Kentucky offers. And you're right Dan, it comes down to whether or not Donovan WANTS to go to Kentucky. Does he want to continue (resurrect?) tradition or create a legacy of his own? That was the same arguement I used when arguing that Gillispie would be better off staying at A&M rather than going to Arkansas.

Unknown said...

I agree with Dan's points. There really is no reason other than money to move to Kentucky. It is just leverage. Why not continue to work at his dream job in Florida for twice the money.

I accepted counter offers when I felt I was behind market value. The only thing is that you really need to be willing to go. If Kentucky offers a big raise and Florida doesn't, then Donovan has to be willing to jump.

I think he is staying or going to the NBA like Dan said. The one thing you have to take into account is he is set for 20 years as coach of Florida. If he doesn't win at Kentucky in 5 years, he is out. All his success in coaching was for Florida, it won't carry any weight at his next job.

When you change jobs, all the great ideas you came up with, all the hours you spent working unpaid OT and all relationships you developed are meaningless at your new job. You have to start over. That is something that Donovan is well aware of.

Unknown said...

The games tonight!

The one great thing about having no real upsets in this tourney is that we have a great intriguing final 4 to make up for the most boring first four rounds since I watched the NCAAs.

I will probably miss most of Florida-UCLA though since I have a crazy hard bike ride to do early tomorrow at 8 AM. I have to be up around 6:30AM ET and won't last long if I show up tired. May not last long in any event.