By Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports
June 3, 2007
Billy Donovan is working to get out of his Orlando Magic contract and return to the University of Florida as men's basketball coach, several sources confirmed Sunday night.
An AAU coach who has a player being recruited by the Florida staff said he learned through conversations with assistant coaches for the Gators and Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday that Donovan had second thoughts about his five-year, $27.5 million deal and had contacted UF athletic director Jeremy Foley about returning to his old job.
"Right when Foley landed in Richmond to meet with [VCU coach] Anthony Grant, there was a message on his voice mail from Billy, telling him to hold off on hiring anyone until they talked," the source said. "That's when he turned the plane around and returned to Florida."
Foxsports.com first reported the story Sunday night.
Adrian Wojnarowski is the national NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports.
By MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer
June 3, 2007
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Billy Donovan might not be done with the Florida Gators after all.
FoxSports.com, citing two anonymous sources, reported Sunday night that Donovan was having second thoughts about coaching the NBA's Orlando Magic and attempting to return to Gainesville.
Donovan agreed to a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Magic on Thursday, but FoxSports.com reported that he has approached both sides about getting out of the deal. He has yet to sign the contract with the NBA team.
According to one of the sources, the Magic forced Donovan to make a rash decision.
Donovan said after taking the Magic job that he had always been intrigued by the NBA and that Orlando was the perfect situation because it was an up-and-coming team and close to home.
The 42-year-old Donovan led the Gators to consecutive national titles the past two seasons and was slated to sign a seven-year deal worth approximately $3.5 million annually. The deal was still in the process of being approved when he agreed to coach the Magic.
The Gators moved quickly to replace Donovan, contacting Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant soon after Donovan's decision. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley had been scheduled to meet with Grant on Saturday in Richmond, Va.
But that meeting never took place, and Grant said Sunday night that he hadn't been offered the job.
"I have been contacted by the University of Florida regarding their coaching vacancy," Grant said in a statement. "I have not had any in-person contact with any Florida representative, nor have I been offered the job.
"At this point in time, I will have no further comment on this situation as my focus is on my responsibilities at VCU."
Neither Foley nor Donovan could be reached for comment.
If Donovan had a change of heart, it wouldn't be the first in college basketball.
Creighton coach Dana Altman was introduced as Arkansas' new basketball coach earlier this spring, then decided to return to Creighton two days later.
Altman's reversal was not without precedent. In 1993, Bobby Cremins accepted the South Carolina job, then reneged two days later and returned to Georgia Tech.
And in June 2006, Charleston hired Winthrop's Gregg Marshall, but Marshall told the Cougars one day later he was returning to Winthrop.
Updated on Sunday, Jun 3, 2007 11:37 pm EDT