Any Florida Gators fans who are still feeling upset about longtime coach Billy Donovan leaving for the NBA can now take consolation in one reality. It’s not as though Donovan and his family aren’t taking the upcoming move hard as well.
In a post by Adam Silverstein of the Florida fan site OnlyGators, the goodbye that the Donovans gave to the fans via an ad in The Gainesville Sun can be viewed. Needless to say, it tugs at the heartstrings.
Thus, while some Gators fans may still be hurting about Donovan leaving after 19 seasons in Gainesville, it’s not as though the future Hall of Famer thought it was an easy decision and basically said “Hey, Gators fans, I’m off to the NBA! Smell ya later!”
Rather, he knows how much the fans will miss him and that he’ll miss them too. He’s off to unchartered waters (at least for him) in coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder, and walking away from a university and its fans that have essentially become like members of his own family must be borderline heart-breaking for him. Just the same, when the NBA comes a-calling, that’s an opportunity from which it’s incredibly hard to walk away, and Donovan is making the decision he feels is best for himself and his family.
Florida was 16-17 (8-10 SEC) in Donovan’s final season and did not participate in postseason play. In his 19 years at the helm, the team went 467-186 (202-109), winning national championships in 2006 and 2007 and taking four total trips to the Final Four.