Look out, Adolph

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Tuesday night was a special night for Gator basketball, which won its fifth SEC title ever and fourth under Billy Donovan.

It also gave not only the seniors but everyone on this team a legacy worth leaving behind. They can add to it once the postseason rolls around, but there are only five sets of players who can talk about winning an SEC title. The Oh-Fours, as good as they were, only won one during their time at Florida.

Not that Billy Donovan’s legacy needed any padding, but a couple of interesting tidbits:

• Donovan is now tied for fourth all-time in number of SEC titles. He is tied with Babe McCarthy of Mississippi State and Dale Brown of LSU with four. I don’t think he’s catching the all-time leader Adolph Rupp, who won 27. Different world then. Joe B. Hall is second with eight and Tubby Smith, that awful coach the Wildcat fans drove out of Lexington, is third with five.

• Donovan is now tied for second all-time in division championships. He is tied with Rick Stansbury at five. Tubby won seven at Kentucky. Of course, there have only been divisions since 1992. And Tubby’s record could be safe if the league decides to do away with divisions in Destin this spring. That’s a real possibility, although the West coaches will try to block it.

One other note: the SEC title won by the Gators was the 100th won by a UF team since Jeremy Foley became athletic director.

13 COMMENTS

  1. The day Billy changed his mind about taking the Magic job will go down as one of the greatest days in Gators history. He’s an elite coach and an even better person. Even if he doesn’t win another nat’l championship he will end as one of the all-time greats.

  2. Agreed, Stephen! Billy Donovan’s life and record of success, as well as his ability to outlast the tenure of any other major coach in UF history should have cemented his place already in the hearts of true blue Gators everywhere. Thanks, Coach Donovan, for a wonderful time throughout these “beginning” 15 years of your Gator career!

  3. Great article Pat. Billy is a great coach and person and deserves more praise than he gets. He also does a great job of developing assistants with proof in Anthony Grant, John Pelfrey and Donnie Jones. Foley might not have the personality that Billy has but he is without a doubt the best AD in the NCAA. I hope they both stay for many years.

  4. Pelphry will make someone a great assistant or maybe become a good D-II coach where demands are not so high. The Arkansas situation was too big a mess for a guy with his experience and his recruiting has been second rate. Grant on the other hand is on the rise fast. His coaching jumps off the court at you.

  5. Donovan is one of the top 3 coaches in the country right now. I would have to say Coach K is surely #1. Then I would give the second spot to Tom Izzo. Then I would say Billy D. Some would argue about Calipari, Roy Williams, Thad Matta, etc. But I would argue that Billy basically started with nothing and has made 3 Final Fours and won 2 NC’s from a program that was just an afterthought in Div 1 basketball.
    Let’s hope Donovan is with us for another 25 years or so!
    Go Gators!

  6. FOR ALL BASKETBALL PROSPECTS’ CONSIDERATION (as well as GatorNation’s edification) —
    ———
    HEAD BASKETBALL COACH COMPARISON: (UF Coach vs. Best Coach: Last Quarter-Century):
    >> BILLY DONOVAN (BD), [aka: “Billy The Kid”], age 45.
    versus
    >> MIKE KRZYZEWSKI (MK), [aka: “Coach-K,” “KrazyZooski,”], age 64.
    ———
    >>BD’s 15-season Overall W-L record (thru 3/5/11): 355-145 (71.00%);
    seasonal avg. W-L record: 24-10 (rounded to nearest whole number).
    >>MK’s FIRST 15-season (“block”) W-L record: 362-142 (71.83%);
    seasonal avg. W-L record: 24-9 (rounded…).
    ———
    >>BD had Thirteen (13) 20+ win seasons (all consecutive).
    >>MK had Eleven (11) 20+ win seasons (all consecutive).
    ———
    >>BD had 2 losing seasons (WORST losing season: 13-17 {1st season}).
    >>MK had 3 losing seasons (BEST losing season: 13-18 {15th season}) — [BD’s “worst” losing season {1st yr.} was BETTER than MK’s “best” losing season {15th yr.}].
    ———
    >>BD had two {or 3*} 30+ win seasons; (three {or 4*} 29+ seasons) — {*current season pending}.
    >>MK had three 30+ win seasons; (four 29+ seasons).
    ———
    >>BD had 6 double-digit loss seasons.
    >>MK had 5 double-digit loss seasons.
    ———
    >>BD’s post-seasons: NCAA: 11 (9 consecutive); NIT: 3; Missed: 1 (1st season).
    >>MK’s post-seasons: NCAA: 11 (all consecutive); NIT: 1; Missed: 3 (incl. 15th season).
    ———
    >>BD’s first trip to the NCAA Tourney was in his 3rd season (Sweet Sixteen).
    >>MK’s first trip to the NCAA Tourney was in his 4th season (Second Round).
    ———
    >>BD’s first trip to the Final Four was in his 4th season (Runner-Up).
    >>MK’s first trip to the Final Four was in his 6th season (Runner-Up).
    ———
    >>BD won his first NCAA Championship in his 10th season.
    >>MK won his first NCAA Championship in his 11th season.
    ———
    >>BD won 2 NCAA Championships (consecutive).
    >>MK won 2 NCAA Championships (consecutive).
    ———
    >>BD coaches in a real college basketball arena (albeit, multipurpose): O’Connell Center (1980; 12,700 cap.).
    >>MK coaches in a glorified high school gymnasium: Cameron “Stadium” (1940; 9,400 cap.).
    ———
    We all stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before, building and hopefully improving upon what they’ve wrought. Who’s shoulders do these two Coaches stand upon??
    Coach-K (MK) stepped into an established, tradition-rich basketball program with a consistent history of success; one capable of boasting an impressive composite winning-percentage (WP) of 66.6% (apropos for a team named Blue DEVILS) dating all the way back to the beginning of the tenure of their coach during WWII (1942-43), and which only had three losing seasons since that time (39 yrs.) – an average of one losing season every 13 years.
    [I chose a point during WWII as a common marker for comparison sake, because UF’s basketball stats prior to WWII (the hoops program began in 1915) were incomplete and not readily available].
    ———
    Even before then (WWII), Duke’s hoops composite winning percentage from that time all the way back to the program’s inception in 1905 averaged 63.6%. Their overall composite WP prior to the Coach-K era (“pre-K”) was 65.5% (from seasons 1905-06 thru 1979-80). Obviously, a very consistent program historically committed to winning. Their winning tradition started early, but didn’t stop there.
    Their seasonal avg. W-L record (“pre-K”) was 15-8 (rounded up from 14.6 – 7.7 {65.5%}).
    [Needless to say, fewer games/season were played back then].
    ———
    Billy D. (BD) stepped into an ill-established UF program that, in stark contrast, had precious little to boast of and even less tradition, save one of being historically inconsistent and, with few exceptions, largely mediocre. UF’s pre-Donovan (“pre-D”) years had a composite WP of ~52.3% (dating back to ~1946) and 19 losing seasons (since 1953) – an average of 1 losing season every two to three (2.32) years! The “winning” seasons were rarely inspiring, though. Their seasonal avg. W-L record was a meager, if not dismal, 13-12 (rounded down from 13.4 – 12.2 {~52.3%}). Billy D. commenced and has consistently maintained UF’s relatively new-found winning “tradition,” and because of his knack for spawning successful Head Coaches (and our awesome Athletic Director, Jeremy Foley’s long-standing commitment to excellence), it will likely not end with him!
    ———
    MK’s first 15-season “block” W-L record (362-142) only raised Duke’s “pre-K” overall (composite) winning percentage (WP) by a paltry 1.4% (from 65.5% to 66.9%), barely bumping up the Blue Devils’ seasonal avg. W-L record from 15-8 to 16-8 (rounded down from 16.2 – 8.0 {66.9%}).
    BD’s 15-season W-L record (351-144; as of 2/12/11), however, has raised UF’s overall WP by a whopping ~5.1% (from ~52.3% to ~57.4%), jumping the Gators’ seasonal avg. W-L record from 13-12 to almost 16-12 (rounded up from 15.6 – 11.6 {~57.4%}).
    ———
    “Billy The Kid’s” (BD’s) 15-season record (thru 2/20/11; 352-144), though ever-so-slightly behind “KrazyZooski’s” (MK’s) record, nonetheless had roughly a 250% greater impact on the UF basketball program’s “pre-D” seasonal avg. W-L record than “Krzy’s” (MK’s) virtually identical 15-season record had on Duke’s “pre-K” seasonal avg. W-L record!
    It’s not surprising that BD’s performance had a greater impact on the Gators’ Hoops program than MK’s comparable performance had on Duke’s, considering their programs’ respective histories, BUT for BD to get virtually identical results from his fledgling, upstart Gators as MK got from his “vaunted” Blue Devils – and in most categories, slightly better or sooner – is, quite frankly, astonishing!!!!!!!
    Considering what these two coaches had (or not) at their respective disposal, it’s evident that Billy Donovan didn’t merely outperform Mike Krzyzewski in his respective “first” 15 seasons (and by far, comparatively),… the man has been performing virtual miracles in Gatortown!!!
    ———
    IF Billy Donovan tarries, and his performance continues to closely mimic Coach-K’s pattern, whose last 15 seasons (82.45% WP) were even better than his first 15-season “block,” then it’s gonna be a wild, exhilarating ride [again!] in G’ville this next decade, or so!
    ———
    DEAR PROSPECT-RECRUIT: I hope the above facts (statistical comparisons), coupled with US News & World Report’s (US News.com) 2011 academic ranking of UF at #53 (Duke, #9; Georgetown, #21; UCLA, #25; UNC, #30; Texas, #45; {UF, #53}; Syracuse, #55; Ohio State, #56; Pitt., #64; UConn., #69; Mich.St., #79; Kansas, #104; Ariz., #120; Kentucky, #129; Louisville, #176), help to put things into perspective and contribute to your making an informed decision (there are more so-called “basketball schools” ranked below UF – academically – than above us!).
    ———
    Lastly, do not overlook the WEATHER factor!
    We are the University of Florida!!…
    … FLORIDA, I said!!!
    Need I say more?!?
    The state’s flagship university, UF is also far enough north in The Sunshine State to have mildly cool Autumns (Fall) and chilly, short-lived “Winters” (the two football “seasons”).
    Unlike the above-mentioned schools, we…
    … are completely unaffected by the Noreaster blizzards of the NE & upper midwest,
    … don’t suffer from the daily temperature extremes that plague the desert SW (incl, TX),
    … are not prone to the severe flooding common to the mountainous northern tiered Southern States,
    … are far from the stormy plains of tornado alley,
    … never worry about the ground under our feet or roof over our heads crumbling, and…
    … realize that the weather steering-currents historically have made the Carolinas (and the Northern Gulf and Texas coasts) statistically more susceptible to hurricanes than Florida (hence the NHL hockey team name: Carolina Hurricanes).
    As for Florida’s alleged heat and humidity, I can attest as a former north-easterner that they actually get HOTTER than us and ALMOST as humid. Temps. here only occasionally reach the MID-90’s, whereas the NE commonly soars into the UPPER-90’s!
    ———
    To quote Mick Hubert, the voice of the Gators: “BOOK IT!”
    ‘Nuff said!
    GO GATORS!.
    ————
    IGTBAG! (It’s Great To Be A Gator!)
    Ciao
    PS: Think twice before considering John Calipari; he is a cheater, and as such,… destructive!

  7. Next season is the fifth and final year of Donovan’s agreed upon five year “ban” from the NBA (a product of his ill-fated “Magic Trick”).
    Will he (SHOULD he?!) stay at UF whenever his contract ends, or will he go somewhere else???
    I would love to see him stay at UF to see if he can continue on his “Coach-K” (of Duke U.) trajectory! Billy, in his 15 seasons (thru 3/5/11), has virtually statistically matched Coach-K’s first 15 seasons (starting with an ill-established Gator hoops program, no less, versus Coach-K’s start with Duke’s already historically vaunted program!).
    Coach-K’s second 15-season “block” was even better than his first 15 seasons – substantially so (but, surprisingly, not in #’s of NC’s; those were the same). Behold,…
    COACH-K’s STATS:
    >>1st 15 seasons: 362-142 (71.83 %); 2 NC.
    >>2nd 15 seasons: 437-93 (82.45 %); 2 NC.
    >>Tot. 30 seasons: 799-235 (77.27 %); 4 NC.
    >>Current season (31st): 27-4 (87.10 %) – {thru 3/5/11; complete regular season}.
    BILLY-D’s STATS (UF):
    >>15 seasons {thru 3/5/11}: 355-145 (71.00 %); 2 NC.
    >>Current season (15th): 24-6 (80.00 %) – {thru 3/5/11; complete regular season}.
    Consider this question, though: how challenging will it be for Duke to find an ACCEPTABLE replacement for “KrazyZooski” (Coach-K) who’d be WILLING to step into his INCREDIBLY MASSIVE and LONG shadow IMMEDIATELY following his retirement???
    Likewise for UF with Donovan?!?
    In fact, it would probably be more challenging for UF than Duke because a Duke HC hopeful would likely reason that he could rely on Duke’s hoops tradition to certainly be of help – a sort of “wind beneath his wings;” whereas Billy Donovan IS the wind beneath UF’s hoops program (as well as its wings).
    When BD leaves UF, any Gators hoops success will be largely on the next guys efforts – there’ll be no (long, historical) tradition to “lean on;” very little “wind beneath his wings” to carry him – and any would-be replacement will realize that.
    Fortunately, though, Billy has been around long enough (unlike Urban Meyer’s “flash in the pan” tenure) to produce several excellent assistant, and now head, coaches that would likely be the vanguard of any viable pool of replacement candidates, thus mitigating the process (like Anthony Grant was when Jeremy Foley wanted to hire him before BD’s about-face in June ’07).
    If Billy does stay as the Head Gator and is able to continue his Coach-K performance pattern another decade or so, replacing him then – at that time – might even be harder.
    If he left sooner (than later) and the next HC was as successful as he – or more so – then future top-notch replacement candidates (from outside), subsequent to Donovan’s successor, might be less inclined to balk at the opportunity – seeing that more than one (iconic) guy will have been successful at a, traditionally, “football school.”
    Since I’m on the subject of the “if and when” of Billy’s eventual departure, it might be interesting to ponder the following (and to fill in the blank(s)):
    … Spurrier is to Meyer, as Donovan is to __________! Or…
    … Meyer is to Muschamp, as Donovan is to __________!
    Talk amongst yourselves; I’m becoming verklempt!
    ————
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao
    PS: A new and apropos nickname for Billy Donovan: (if John Wooden was the “Wizard of Westwood,” then Billy should be – dare I say, IS) the “GURU OF GAINESVILLE!”
    PPS: Gotta tip my hat to OSU Head Coach, Thad Matta: he is “mad-good!”