Donovan not going to UK


Published: Friday, March 27, 2009 at 4:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 at 4:49 p.m.

Florida coach Billy Donovan quickly dispelled rumors he was a candidate for the Kentucky head coaching position Friday afternoon.

Enlarge |

Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan calls out a play from Florida's bench during the second half of round 2 of the 2009 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida on Friday, March 13, 2009.

AARON DAYE/The Gainesville Sun

Moments after Kentucky fired coach Billy Gillispie, Donovan, through a statement released by Florida sports information, said: "In response to the rumors circulating about my interest in other jobs, I wanted to address this as quickly as possible. I am committed to the University of Florida and look forward to continuing to build our program here."

Donovan did not immediately return phone calls seeking additional comment Friday.

In 13 seasons, Donovan has led Florida to three Final Fours and two national titles. He's coming off leading his team to back-to-back NIT appearances after leading Florida to nine straight NCAA Tournaments.

Donovan, 43, is in the second year of a six-year contract extension that pays him $3.5 million annually. His 310 career wins at Florida are the most in school history.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart did not approach him about asking permission to speak with Donovan.

"Billy is not only a quality coach, but he's a quality person as well," Foley said. "We're delighted that he's our basketball coach."

Donovan began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Kentucky from 1989-94 and has often referred it as a "special place" because of its basketball tradition. But it's the second time he's turned down an interest in the coaching vacancy. In 2007, after winning the second of his two national titles,Barnhart briefly spoke with Donovan about the Kentucky job after Tubby Smith resigned and left to Minnesota. Donovan chose to stay at Florida and was later rewarded with a contract extension that nearly doubled his previous annual salary of $1.7 million.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 374-5054 or at brockwk@gvillesun.com.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top