UF will move quickly, Machen says

University of Florida president Bernie Machen.

TRACY WILCOX/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 1:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 1:06 p.m.

DESTIN Florida president Bernie Machen said Friday the Gators will move quickly to have a replacement for outgoing coach Billy Donovan, who accepted a lucrative contract from the NBA's Orlando Magic on Thursday.

While he regrets the need to hire a coach from another school at this time of the offseason, "It's something that we have to do," said Machen, who is at the SEC spring meetings here.

Donovan will have input on his successor, Machen said. UF will also contact recruits to keep them abreast of what's going on and what direction Florida is going, Machen said.

"Florida is a better place because of Billy Donovan," Machen said. "We feel like he's still a Gator. The Gator Nation is hurting today, but when they get a little perspective of what Billy did for them, they will be all right."

Machen said a contract extension with Donovan was a "done deal for a long time" and were waiting on the compensation committee to meet, a mere formality. He said the school was going to schedule a news conference for Monday.

"We were going to announce his new contract Monday," Machen said. "This happened very fast."

Donovan's UF contract ran until 2009, at $1.7 million per year. Machen said Donovan's new deal was for more than $3 million a year.

Instead, Donovan took the Magic's five-year, $27.5 million offer.

Machen also said the school was close to finalizing football coach Urban Meyer's new contract. It could be done as early as next week, he said.

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