Well the state is in limbo right now with the news that Billy Gillispie was let go by the University of Kentucky. Being a Gators guy, I immediately panicked over our main man, Billy Donovan (seen above). Donovan played college ball for Rick Pitino at Providence, played a little bit in the NBA, then worked on Wall Street in New York. But he missed basketball, and called his old coach for a job. Pitino was at UK then, so Donovan became the lowest coach on the totem pole. He worked his way up, and ended up getting the job at Marshall, before resurrecting that program and then going to Florida. He was considered the wrong man for the job shortly after his hire. But he led them to an improbable title game appearance against Michigan State, and eventually back to back National Titles.
But because he is so high profile and used to coach at UK, everyone and there mom claims to have spotted him in Lexington recently and that it was a done deal that he was coming. His wife reportedly was in Lexington looking at real estate, although at the exact same time she was in Gainesville on national television for the Gators NIT game. And then he was seen at the country club. And Donovan was spotted at Fazolis. And apparently he was leaving flowers at Adolph Rupp's grave. And then he was spotted buying royal blue ties from Men's Warehouse. No joke, these were the reports. WKYT out of Lexington showed a graphic of all the places fans had spotted him at in Lexington the last two days. It looked like Bigfoot was on the loose.
But Billy Donovan has always been a Pitino guy, and not so much a UK guy. He said in November when asked about UK that he loved his time there, but that he felt more connected to Louisville because Pitino is there. And news came out quickly that UK officials had contacted Billy Donovan's agents about the job. And then the rumor mill sped up. News even came out that he had resigned from Florida and was flying to Lexington......
BUT MY MAN BILLY CAME THROUGH. "In response to the rumors circulating about my interest in other jobs, I wanted to address this as quickly as possible. I am committed to the University of Florida and look forward to continuing to build our program here." He came out quickly and turned the job down. If you wait around, recruits worry, boosters worry, fans worry. So he hit it quickly. I will admit that Florida has no where near the tradition that UK has. And as far as fan base, there is no fan base on any amateur level in the world that is as rabid and passionate as UK fans. After all, there are no real professional sports teams in Kentucky, and no other college team or program that has been successful, so basketball is all there is. I would compare the level of passion to European soccer. Florida is a football school, but Donovan is committed to making basketball right up there as well.
So thanks Billy Donovan. Glad to have you back.