To fill the void left by former Florida coach Billy Donovan’s move to the Oklahoma City Thunder, former Gator guard Teddy Dupay doesn’t think the Gators should look far from campus.
Dupay said he believes either one of Florida’s current assistants — John Pelphrey or Anthony Grant — could step in and sustain the success that Donovan created in 19 seasons at UF.
“I think you should absolutely consider those guys,” Dupay said. “I think both are amazing coaches. I think they would bring continuity in terms of playing a similar system, a similar style.”
Dupay’s loyalty to Pelphrey and Grant is strong. Both were assistants at UF when Dupay played for the Gators from 1998-2001.
Pelphrey, Grant and Florida assistant coach Rashon Burno will run the program in various roles on an interim bases until a successor is found. But it’s unclear at this point if Grant or Pelphrey will be considered to replace Donovan. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has yet to field a question on the topic since Donovan left on Thursday.
A hire of Grant or Pelphrey would be a hard sell to the fanbase. Both had some initial success at the mid-major level before being fired at SEC schools. Pelphrey was 69-59 and 25-39 in the SEC in four seasons at Arkansas (2007-11). Grant was 117-85 overall and 54-49 in the SEC in six seasons at Alabama (2009-15).
But Dupay thinks either coach could have more success at Florida.
“You need great players to win, and to do that, you have to win your state,” Dupay said. “Both have great recruiting ties in the state of Florida. Both guys have recruited great players to Florida. So I could see them being able to continue to do that, if given the opportunity.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari weighed in on Donovan’s decision to leave Florida for the Thunder:
I’ll miss coaching against Billy but he’ll do terrific work for the Thunder. Oklahoma City made a great choice.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 1, 2015
In Donovan’s last career game at Florida, he lost to Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats 64-49 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Overall, Donovan went 5-11 head-to-head against Calipari, who consistently recruited the best talent in the nation to Kentucky. But in terms of SEC titles, Donovan held his own, leading the Gators to three regular season titles in six seasons against Calipari’s Wildcats.