Billy D: passion for coaching still strong


Billy Donovan will start his 18th season as head men’s basketball coach at Florida next month.

And the dean of Southeastern Conference coaches doesn’t sound like someone ready to slow down anytime soon.

Donovan was still “Billy the Kid” when he took over the UF program in 1996 a few months shy of his 32nd birthday. Two national titles, three Final Fours and six Elite Eights later, the 48-year-old Donovan has a chance to build a legacy at one school the way Mike Krzyzewski has at Duke, Jim Boeheim has at Syracuse and Jim Calhoun did at Connecticut.

On “The Seth Davis Show”, Donovan made clear his passion for coaching remains strong. The full interview will air at on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

“I think the one thing I’ve gotten older is it really comes down to your level of passion, your level of enthusiasm and what kind of enjoyment are you getting out of it,” Donovan said. “And I think right now at my age, I still love doing it, I still love the coaching part of it, I still love all the apsects of the job. I think if I ever got to the point where I didn’t like it, that would probably be something I would look at, in terms of making a change.”

Donovan reached a significant milestone when he recorded his 31st NCAA Tournament victory last March, passing  Kentucky icon Adolph Rupp for the most NCAA Tournament wins by an SEC coach. With 450 career wins, Donovan has a chance to reach 500 wins before his 50th birthday if he posts two more strong seasons.

Also from the interview:

On his drive and whether he was pushed by his father: “He was not as much a hard driving guy as what he was, was very honest, he was very up front. He was never one of those guys who thought that I was the best thing since sliced bread. He would always say, listen, you say you want to play college basketball, you want to do all these things, but you know what, you don’t work hard enough.”

On his mentor, Rick Pitino, winning another national title at Louisville: “For me, I was so happy. I was so disappointed. some things came up, I wanted to get there, I wanted to be there for him on that night. I think the hardest part for me with Coach Pitino, that I still to this day struggle with, he is such a great guy, he’s done so many different things for me in my life and I’ve seen his generosity. And I think a lot of times people have a tendency with a figure like that to look from the outside in and cast a judgement of who he is.” Earlier this month, Donovan attended Pitino’s induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.