Contract talks with Donovan still in process
Published: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 1:24 a.m.
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley denied a report that the school and Billy Donovan are closing in on the richest coaching contract in college basketball history.
"We haven't even met yet," Foley said. "Billy just got back into town. I'm still working on the budget. Our compensation committee hasn't met."
Donovan did not return calls seeking comment Thursday night. Donovan spent last week in Ireland on a golfing trip. Last weekend, Donovan attended a 20-year reunion honoring the 1987 Providence basketball team that reached the Final Four.
ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach, citing an unnamed source, reported Thursday night that Donovan and the school are close to a seven-year contract extension worth an average of $3.5 million per season. The contract would pay Donovan $3 million the first season and escalate to more than $3.75 million in guaranteed income by 2013-14. Incentives could increase the annual salary to as much as $4 million by the end of the contract.
The source said Donovan could sign the deal "in a couple of days or a couple of weeks."
Foley said any new athletic contract must be approved by the University Athletic Association's compensation committee, which has yet to meet. The contract then must receive final approval from the finance committee of the University of Florida Board of Trustees. The board next meets June 14-15.
The reported deal would make Donovan the highest paid coach in history, eclipsing the deals of Duke's Mike Kryzezewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams. Both are believed to make an average annual salary of $3 million, which includes outside endorsements.
Foley said last April he and Donovan had discussed parameters of a deal, but would not disclose figures Thursday.
"We've said all along we've had discussions and we'll continue to have discussions," Foley said.
Donovan chose not to sign a contract extension last fall, saying he did not want to cash in on the success of his returning players. Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer chose to return for their junior seasons, leading Florida to become the first team since Duke in 1992 to win back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007.
Donovan is 261-103 in 11 seasons at Florida, leading the Gators to nine straight 20-win seasons and nine-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Calls to Donovan's Atlanta-based agent, Lonnie Cooper, were not immediately returned Thursday night. Donovan's current deal, which pays an average annual salary of $1.7 million, runs through 2009.
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