Former Gator walk-on Billy Donovan, the son of the icon former UF basketball coach, is moving on with his basketball coaching career.
After two years as head varsity basketball coach at Saint Francis Catholic Academy in Gainesville, Donovan has accepted a position as Director of Operations and Assistant Coach for the San Antonio Spurs’ G League team in Austin, Texas.
Donovan guided Saint Francis to an 18-8 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the Class 3A state playoffs this past season. His last day at Saint Francis was Thursday.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Donovan, who first informed his team of the potential move last week. “Really tough to leave a team and school behind that has done so much for me, but exciting to get a chance to join a first-class organization.”
Donovan will be joining the pro basketball ranks with his father, former UF coach Billy Donovan, who is entering his third season as head coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
The younger Donovan said he was able to seek advice from his dad and from Mark Daigneault, a former UF staffer who is the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G-League team.
“It’s obviously a different level, different preparation, the rules are different from defensive three seconds to the spacing of the floor to the shot clock,” Donovan said. “I think you are going to see the league become more of a proving ground for players and coaches and executives.”
Donovan said he’s grateful to his players, to Saint Francis athletic director David Fallo and his wife Sandra and to his assistant coach Isaac Selva. He’s also received unwavering support from his wife, Lauren. The couple married two months in St. Augustine.
“You buy a house together and you think you’re going to be in Gainesville for at least the next few years, continuing to establish a program,” Donovan said. “But this was an opportunity too good to pass up.”