Donovan talks Florida contract extension
Published: Monday, October 10, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 12:06 a.m.
OCALA — Billy Donovan has coached the Florida men's basketball program in three decades, leading the Gators to two national titles and three Final Four appearances.
And it doesn't appear he's going anywhere else any time soon.
Donovan confirmed Monday he has been in discussions with UF on a contract extension that will take him beyond the 2012-13 season. Donovan, who will begin his 16th season at Florida when practice opens Friday, just completed the fourth year of a six-year deal that pays him an average of $3.5 million annually.
“We're in the process, and trying to get some things finalized,” Donovan said. “When that gets done I don't know. But we've had several conversations about it.”
Asked if there was a timetable when he would like to get an extension finalized, Donovan said: “I mean, I think for me, I'm fine. (Florida athletic director) Jeremy (Foley) and the school have been very proactive. I think it's just a matter of me getting the contract and the steps that they've got to go through, through the board, through (President) Dr. (Bernie) Machen. I think when all that stuff gets done, it gets to me. So really for me, it will probably move a lot quicker then.”
Donovan, 46, has led Florida to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and 14 postseason appearances in 15 seasons. He is Florida's all-time winningest coach (360-147 .710) and is closing in on a milestone. With a 395-167 overall record, Donovan will likely earn his 400th career win early this season.
Florida plays its first exhibition game Nov. 3 against Catholic University and will open the season Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. at the O'Connell Center against Jackson State.
Donovan spoke before about 200 people Monday night at the Ocala Tipoff Club banquet. The Ocala Tipoff Club, in its 30th year, endows scholarships and raises funds for the Florida men's basketball program.
Other notes: Donovan said he's “very excited” about his depth in the backcourt. Florida returns starters Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker while adding Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario and McDonald's All-American freshman Brad Beal. Sophomore Gainesville native Scottie Wilbekin proved last season he also was capable of playing both guard positions. “I think all of them are really talented, they are all different,” Donovan said. “And I think they all understand they have to really, really be able to play together. So there will be some games where we can play with three guards, there will be some games maybe depending on how well we can rebound and defend, to play four.”
Donovan said Rosario is dealing with back problems. “He had a great, great summer,” Donovan said. “His preseason has been just OK. He had a back injury that kept him out for a while, a disc problem. He did a really, really good job lifting and getting stronger and putting on good weight. I thought with the injury, he put on some bad weight that he probably needs to get rid of right now. I think this preseason has been up-and-down for him in terms of injuries and different things he's had to deal with. I don't anticipate it's going to be a problem for him during the year, it's going to be interesting to see in practice if he can be a regular guy, can he be an everyday guy in practice.”