Vitale: Donovan worth it

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A report surfaced last week that Florida coach Billy Donovan was close to signing the richest college contract in college basketball history, a seven-year deal worth an average of $3.5 million.

Count ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale as one who thinks
Donovan is worth every penny.

“When you look at all the fundraisers, the TV revenue that these coaches bring in, they are almost like CEO’s of companies,” Vitale said. “People aren’t going to give you that kind of money unless they know you can make more in return. And that’s the great thing about America.”

On the subject of fundraising, Vitale raised close to $1 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research at his annual fundraising dinner last Friday. The event, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, honored Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. More than $60 million has been raised for the 14-year-old organization created in honor of former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer at 47 in 1993.

Donovan’s name also has surfaced for the NBA coaching opening in Memphis and a potential coaching opening in Orlando. But Vitale thinks Donovan should stay at the college level.

“My good friend Jimmy Valvano once told me, you never mess with happiness,” Vitale said. “Billy has a great situation there. How much more money do you need? You don’t mess with what makes you happy.”