Meeting’s Over! Billy wants to stay!

Billy Donovan’s meeting with officials from the Orlando Magic has ended and as both the Orlando Sentinel and ESPN’s Andy Katz report, everything is in the hands of the lawyers who are working to void the contract. Apparently there will be no legal action taken by the Magic and Donovan will be free to return to the Florida Gators.

The Sentinel reported that the Magic are now pursuing a deal to land former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy to replace Donovan. There are reports that a deal with Van Gundy could be completed this week.

Meanwhile, Donovan will wait for the legal issues to be worked out before resuming his role as Florida’s head coach. There is a matter of a new contract with Florida that will be resolved very quickly. It is expected that Donovan will be signing a multi-year deal that will be worth more than $3 million per year in guaranteed money with bonus money for performance added on.

Katz reported that Donovan woke up Saturday morning and realized how much he loves it in Gainesville. He concluded that he had made a mistake to accept Orlando’s five-year, $27.5 million deal to move on to the NBA.

When Donovan called Jeremy Foley Saturday to tell him of his change of heart, the Florida athletic director had just landed in Richmond where he was to meet with Virginia Commonwealth University coach Anthony Grant, a 10-year assistant at Florida under Donovan, to succeed Donovan. The meeting never took place because one Foley heard of Donovan’s change of heart, he flew immediately back to Gainesville. Foley was on the ground in Richmond for approximately 30 minutes before he re-boarded the University of Florida jet and flew back to Gainesville to meet with Donovan.

Word that Donovan will be returning has spread quickly. Erving Walker, a point guard from Christ the King in Middle Village, New York, told Gator Country that he’s very happy that Donovan is staying. Walker had been quoted over the weekend that he was opening his recruitment with Donovan going to the Magic, but Walker denied that.

“I didn’t de-commit Florida,” said Walker. “All I said was I’d wait to see who the new coach was and then I’d have to make a decision about sticking with my commitment. Coach Donovan’s the coach. I still want to be a Gator.”

A University of Florida press conference could take place on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Florida’s basketball sports information director Fred Demarest said that there would be no Monday press conference.

Previous articleWelcome back Billy! We sure missed you!
Next articleNew school, surroundings for Ray
Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.