March 27, 2009
Update: Donovan and Florida released a statement to ESPN that said the following: "In response to the rumors circulating about my interest in other jobs, I wanted to address this as quickly as possible," he said in a statement. "I am committed to the University of Florida and look forward to continuing to build our program here." The carousel spins onward.
Last night, WHAS TV in Louisville reported that Billy Gillispie had been fired by Kentucky officials. This morning, they denied it, and Mike Decourcy wrote that UK was waiting to officially announce Gillispie's firing until they were sure they had a replacement. But not just any replacement. They wanted Billy Donovan.
A few hours later, Kentucky might be getting its wish. According to Fox News in Orlando, Donovan is bolting from his two-time title winning era at Florida to take over the head spot in Lexington, Kentucky. This may or may not be true. We have no idea. But if it is, that was incredibly fast. Mitch Barnhart lives his life a quarter-mile at a time.
For the record, Gillispie's firing is now actually official too, and Kentucky is planning a press conference on the matter at 4:30 EST. Which is, like, a few minutes from now. Scamper!
The first thing that comes to mind on Donovan is: why? Why would a coach who left his NBA gig with the Orlando Magic to go back to Florida all of a sudden have a change of heart? OK, so the Gators haven't made the tournament the past few years. Is that why? Would that be enough to convince Donovan that his program wasn't as impervious as he once thought? Is Kentucky that much more alluring now than it was two years ago after Tubby Smith's firing? Why jump now?
I don't know. Maybe Donovan doesn't, either. Or maybe it's not true in the first place. These are the coaching carousels we all know and love. (For example: VCU's Anthony Grant to Florida? It may or may not be happening!) They rarely make sense, and only half of what you hear is ever true.