How much is Billy D worth?


As we reported earlier this week, Florida coach Billy Donovan is close to signing a contract extension.

On Wednesday, Donovan revealed that it will be a five-year extension that will take him through the 2015-16 season.

When Donovan signed his 6-year, $21 million extension in June of 2007, he was the second-highest paid coach in the country behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski ($4.1 million). Donovan ($3.5 million annually) currently now ranks fourth behind Krzyzewski, Kentucky coach John Calipari ($4 million annually), and Kansas coach Bill Self ($3.6 million annually).

Donovan’s mentor, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, made $6.1 million in 2010-11, but $3.6 million came in a lump-sum bonus for completing three years of his contract. Pitino’s average salary is $2.5 million.

How much of a raise should Donovan get for his extension? There was some rebuilding during the four years of his current contract extension, but he’s taken Florida to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances the past two seasons. Florida is coming off a 29-8 season and reached the Elite Eight for just the fifth time in program history. Four of those trips have come under Donovan.

Donovan has won two national titles, more than Self (1) and Calipari (0). Donovan has taken Florida to three Final Fours and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in 15 seasons. His career NCAA Tournament record is 25-9 (.735). It is the third- highest winning percentage among active coaches behind just Krzyzewski (79-23 .775) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams (58-19, .753).

Florida basketball will never draw like Kentucky or North Carolina, but the Gator basketball program is profitable, making $2.2 million in 2009.

Donovan’s Achilles’s heel always has been tight ballgames (52-64 career record in games decided by 5 points or less). But there is something to be said for putting your team in position to win against some teams that have superior talent.

And it appears that Donovan, at 46, still relates well to his players.

“I just like the way he interacts with us,” Florida sophomore point guard Scottie Wilbekin said. “I feel like he connects with us. I get what he is trying to say. I understand what he’s telling me to do on his court. I like that.”

So how much is Billy D worth? Four-million dollars per year? 4.5 million? Your thoughts …






  1. Billy is worth more to UF than the coaches for NC, Kansas, or Ky. The forementioned schools draw top athletes based on their historical past and would continue to do so even if/when they don’t have a top coach. Florida draws top athletes more for Billy and what he has done at UF and for the stability he brings by being at UF longer than any other SEC coach and the prospect that he will continue to be at UF.

  2. Why do you assume that a contract extention automatically equates to a raise. To me, he hasn’t done anything to earn what his getting now. Granted he has lead UF to back to back NCAA Tournaments but before that it was back to back NIT’s. It has been his program for the last 16 years, if it has had to be rebuilt it is his fault for not recruiting and/or retaining the players he needs to maintain the program. At Florida, there should be no excuse to have a short bench. We should be near the scholarship limit every year.

  3. What’s BillyD worth? He’s worth whatever the going rate is for two-time national championship coaches. He’s got more championships than every coach in the SEC combined, including Calipari. Before BillyD it was a big deal to even make the NCAA tournament, Final Fours were unimaginable. And he’s had that success at coaching despite never having a recruiting class higher than about 10. It’s usually in the teens or higher. The 04’s were ranked 12 on Rivals. He’s also sent more assistants to head coaching jobs then I can ever remember. Yeah, we’ve had some bad luck, some attrition, some players who just didn’t pan out. But so what? What school hasn’t? Be happy we ever had him, because once he’s gone, Florida basketball becomes just another mediocre program. If you think we’re just going to pluck another one out of the sky or woo Coach K down here, you’re nuts.

  4. You could open up a whole discussion of why coaches and athletes are paid so much anyway. Back when this country was becoming the leading nation in the world – 40’s, 50’s, 60’s – the people who made big money were people who made something or started profitable businesses. Now that our primary occupation is entertaining ourselves we pay entertainers the big money.
    It’s just another sign the Apocalypse is near.

  5. Billy is a pearl without price. Pay him whatever is reasonable for a two time national championship winner. Another big plus is that there have been no NCAA scandals ala Pearl and Calipari. The best thing that ever happened to Gator basketball was Billy’s decision to stay at UF. Go Gators

  6. yawn, he’s overpaid as are all of those coaches mentioned. He makes more than the profit the team turned. Hard to justify his salary, or any other elite coach’s.
    Let him keep his current salary and offer some incentives for SEC and National Championships.
    He’s had less success recruiting since his championships.
    He’s not been a great developmental coach with the talent he’s had.
    It’s his program, his camelot. He clearly wants to be here. The administration gives him full support. His fan base loves him. He’d be a fool to leave.

  7. Definitely worth a top five salary with bonus bucks for sticking around when the going got tough. So many coaches today just jump to the next school when the winning gets harder. Having a two-time championship coach makes the Florida brand better. As long as Billy is here the quality recruits will keep on coming. And that will lead to the kind of long term success that will put Florida into the basketball powerhouse conversation.

  8. @FrankW — You’re promoting a problem that doesn’t exist. Last time I checked entrepreneurs like Charles Schwab, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg have all made more money in one year than Coach Donovan has in his career. I’m not saying it’s not harder to become a successful entrepreneur than it used to be, just that your cause-effect linkage to coaching salaries doesn’t exist. A reporter once asked Michael Jordan what he’s worth, to which Jordan responded, “Whatever someone is willing to pay me.” That’s the same answer whether you’re selling widgets, athletic ability, coaching skills or stand-up comedy.

    Here’s something to cheer you up:

  9. Billy Donovan is a great coach, but coaches should be paid
    for performance. How about a flat fee plus bonus for wins
    against the best teams and for more wins in the NCAA? Maybe that would give him an accentive to win more rather than living on his past laurels. Just throwing money at him because
    he has been good is a recipe for mediocrity! But after all,he
    does work for the government.

  10. There’s more to a job than money, as Coach Donovan attested to when he fully contemplated leaving UF for the pros. It isn’t necessary for him to be the highest paid coach in the country. No matter how much UF pays him, if it is only about money someone else could always pay him more. Think Mark Cuban or Paul Allen. While well paid, he obviously stays at UF for the non-monetary benefits to him and his family. So, pay him a middle of the road salary, with incentive bonuses that could tally up to a top 5 pay rate if all criteria are met. Criteria should be: winning SEC and NCAA championships, graduation rate, NCAA rules compliance, recruiting rankings, and a “citizenship quotient” for him and his players’ and coaches’ off court behavior. All but the last is very simple to score and easily known by all of us. The last criteria is a bit difficult to properly devise, but that’s why Foley gets the big bucks.

  11. A fair wage for a coach with his proven skills noting that whoever follows may never match his success. Whatever it takes to keep him as a Gator for the rest of his coaching career will be worth it the Gators no matter what the balance sheet says at the end of each year.

  12. I must be in the minority, but I think Billy deserves a decrease in salary. His teams are not good on the defensive end and he is a terrible coach in late game situations as shown by having Walker dribble around for 30 seconds only to hoist 35 foot shots to try and win it. He is unable to create any shots out of underneath out of bounds plays. I know what his record is and I am not saying this b/c we have not won a NC since 2007, I am speaking by what I see game/game out on the court. Fundamentally the team is not sound and Billy is not a great teacher.

  13. I agree somewhat with Lew on the salary part, my plan above would be a decrease unless all the incentives were met, unlikely, but there if it happens. That being said, I disagree with the rest of what Lew said. Coach Donovan is a great coach and great person and Florida is very lucky to have him. We won’t ever have ’04 class talent again, but Coach gets all there is out of the considerable talent he does get. He’s a top five coach, I just think we can keep him for top twenty money. As a fan, we’re not really privy to enough info to know that though.

  14. I agree with the criticisms most people have said about Donovan. However, I still think he is worth the money. He has done at Florida what no one else has done and he loves the university! (I hear is wife isn’t as nice, but this isn’t about her) Billy is great to us!!

    That being said, a lot of the salaries for coaches come from TV/commercial contracts. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. UF does not pay all of the 3.5 million out their pocket.

    I would not support a raise just b/c the economy doesn’t allow it. I think 3.5 mill should be more than enough for anyone living in Gville.

  15. I have always felt that that Donovan’s chief assets were his ability to motivate and create access for recruiting, not so much for his x’s and o’s. My problem with his recruiting success, or lack thereof, is along with his ability to have access the best recruits, his eye for for the right athletic talent, with certain limited exceptions, is not always there. Who was the last “athletic” type player recruited? Brewer, and who else? That said, UF still needs him as its coach to keep UF in the upper tier of basketball schools…..if he goes, UF would have a difficult time attracting a coach with a great resume. Donovan does deserve to be among the highest paid.

  16. Some of you actually have it backwards. Billy is a better coach than recruiter. Basketball recruiting is generally somewhat overrated anyway — Butler, for example, never gets a ranked class. It’s also hard to judge because unlike football you may only have one or two scholarships open at any time. The 04’s were ranked #12, and Billy made them two time champs (along with another #12 ranked 2003 class that had Lee Humphrey and Chris Richard). But here’s every class since the 04’s: Unranked, 20, 1, 10, 15, 19, 25. That 2007 #1 class was only on paper, and while Tyus and Parsons were solid players, it became a huge disappointment with the transfer of Jai Lucas, Calathes leaving early, and Adam Allan never really played because he was perpetually injured. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think many coaches could do as well or better in recruiting than Billy at our “football school.” Of similar importance is that Billy’s assistants are always hot commodities, including the two guys that helped get those core 03 & 04 classes — Anthony Grant and Donnie Jones. Larry Shyatt, the defensive guru, is now gone too. My point is that if Billy could ever get three #1 ranked classes like Calipari just did, or the perpetual top ten classes that the ACC, Big East and some Big Ten schools get, and keep his assistants longer, we’d get farther then have of late. He’s been a victim of his own success. But I’ll take that success over any other school for now.

  17. He deserves a raise. I would add incentives for him also. Coaching roundball at Florida is hard. Our gym has vinyl walls and even though capacity is only 12,000 we often don’t fill it. Billy has done a fantastic job – read the media guide and compare his record to previous UF coaches. He’s also a man of high integrity [check out rivals Cal and Pearl]. We can’t find a better coach.

  18. Keep Billy the highest paid basketball coach in the SEC. He has represented the university honorably and no real scandals during his tenure.

    I assume the program made $2.2MM AFTER paying his current salary. There’s plenty of money to keep him the top paid guy!