Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Billy Donovan will consider Kentucky job...if asked

I guess one could say that this is good news for fans of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Brett Dawson, the UK beat writer for the Courier Journal, managed to get this story up about Billy Donovan with some nice quotes.
“I have great feelings for Kentucky because of Coach (Rick) Pitino bringing me there, having a chance to work there for five years, seeing the tradition, seeing the passion, seeing the fanfare,” Donovan said. “If there was ever a situation that I was contacted by them, that would be something I would have to think about.”

But Donovan said a conversation with UK hasn’t yet taken place, largely because he’s been to busy focusing on his Gator team’s second straight national title. Florida won that championship Monday night - less than 48 hours before Donovan appeared at Marshall’s Henderson Center, where he’s scheduled to speak at the school’s Big Green Dinner tonight.[...]

He said at the start of a news conference today that he would address only questions about Marshall, but Donovan met with media members from Kentucky after that conference and discussed his job situation, saying he’s happy at Florida and that he’ll meet with that school’s athletic director, Jeremy Foley, this week.

“I know I’m getting asked a lot of questions, and I think eventually I’m going to have to give some answers for everybody to do their job and do what they need to do,” Donovan said. “I have to come out and do something.”[...]

“I think people want answers, and I’m not at a point to give any answers, and as frustrating as that may be to some people, that’s just the truth right now,” Donovan said. “When I’m ready to do that, I’ll do that. But I’m not going to make any statements without even talking to Jeremy Foley.”

Donovan said during his news conference that he would not address any prospective job offers. He said afterward that he hadn’t discussed UK’s job opening with the university.
Due to tech problems, I'm way backed up in emails and whatnot, we'll get the Donovan stuff out of the way first. Other blogging will be done later.

Sportscenter has Andy Katz on the phone right now. Katz says that Donovan could walk in to Foley's office and sign an extension, or talk when they get back, or speak with Kentucky. UK has not called asking Donovan for permission yet. Katz doesn't know if UK has contacted an agent of Billy's yet. Katz has not heard anything that indicated Billy going to UK. He would be stunned if a decision were to be made by Friday night and that a decision would drag out for a bit.

Tim Sullivan has it right, well partially.
Having spent five years at Kentucky as Pitino's assistant, Donovan understands the environment and the lunatics at its fringes. He may have been there the night Pitino passed up a sponsor's taco during his postgame radio show only to have a fan abscond with it as if it were a religious artifact. Donovan may secretly yearn to be the biggest deal on campus (and beyond) in a state where college basketball is an undisputed No. 1 and basketball recruiting runs a spirited second.

No matter how many championships he wins, Donovan can never hope to gain that status in Gainesville. If he is No. 1 in the country Monday night, he will still be No. 2 in his own athletic department Tuesday morning. Donovan and Ohio State coach Thad Matta both see some synergies in coaching basketball where football is king, but you can't begin to build a program of Kentucky's tradition and scale by constructing cutting-edge facilities and recruiting a couple of McDonald's All-Americans.

“I had eight years of Camelot,” Pitino said of his Kentucky experience. “It's the Roman Empire of college basketball.”

UCLA fans might take issue with that assertion, but in any reckoning of the most prestigious college basketball gigs, the short list stops at about six schools: UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, North Carolina and, at least while Mike Krzyzewski is there, Duke.
While I would like a decision made by Friday, time will tell as to what Billy Donovan decides.

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