With Florida’s 79-59 loss to Michigan in the Elite Eight, the Gators fell a win short of the Final Four for the third straight season.
Give Florida coach Billy Donovan credit. He’s mentioned how those outside view the tournament in terms of pinnacles. But he’s consistently maintained that whether you lose in the first round, the Elite Eight or even the national title game, there’s always disappointment or feeling of a goal left unfulfilled.
But let’s put into perspective how hard it is for a team to reach the Final Four. Donovan has led the Gators to three Final Fours (2000, 2006, 2007) in 17 seasons at UF (19 seasons overall). For perspective, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, a Naismith Hall of Famer, just reached his fourth Final Four in 37 seasons at Syracuse.
Here’s a look at coaches who have been to four or more Final Fours and how many seasons it took them to reach their fourth:
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke — 11 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 10th season at Duke, 15th overall
Rick Pitino, Louisville — 7 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 8th season at Kentucky, 19th overall
Roy Williams, North Carolina — 7 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 15th season at Kansas, 15th overall
Tom Izzo, Michigan State — 6 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 10th season at Michigan State, 10th overall
Bobby Knight, Indiana (retired) — 5 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 16th season at Indiana, 22nd overall
John Calipari, Kentucky — 4 Final Fours total (two vacated), reached fourth in 3rd season at Kentucky, 20th overall
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse — 4 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 37th season at Syracuse, 37th overall
Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (retired) — 4 Final Fours total, reached fourth in 25th season at Connecticut, 39th overall
Billy is a great coach and may have hidden the flaws of this team better than any of his previous ones. We advanced one round further than I thought we would before the tournament because of Georgetown’s upset. I like on paper the balance of next year’s team. Gator fans and much of the national media got very excited about this Gator team because we were blowing people out. Unfortunately, we peaked too early. The Gator team that played in January could have beaten Louisville or Michigan now. However, the way we played offense in the last 1/3 of the season, including tournament play, meant we were able to beat teams seeded 11-15, but not Michigan. All of that said, I think Billy is one of the 10 best coaches in the country, THE best coach in any sport in our program, and here is to another 15 years of Billy! Thanks for sticking around.
Kevin….let’s not forget # 1….John Wooden of UCLA, he coached in 12 Final Fours!
Of course, but I was comparing Billy more to successful coaches in his era. But it did take time for Wooden to build UCLA into a consistent power. All due to the pyramid of success (and Sam Gilbert).
Billy is has roughly a 75% winning percentage in the NCAA tournament, while coaching at a football school. Give him a lifetime contract!
“is has?” Wow, I can’t type…
I agree with JaxGator 100%–very well said sir….The only thing I seem to worry about with Billy’s team is that indeed they seem to peak a little early. Otherwise, I’m certainly not complaining with back-to-back-to back elite 8s!
Ditto Jax Gator!