Welcome back Billy! We sure missed you!

Welcome home Billy, we sure missed you! We hope you find everything just the way you left it when you left us. It seems like so long ago. What was it? Just Friday you were saying your good-byes and here it is Monday and we’re saying hello again. Sure is good to have you back where you belong.

In case you missed it, Billy Donovan’s departure from the University of Florida wasn’t greatly exaggerated, just that it didn’t take long for him to come back home. Over the weekend Donovan began having second thoughts about leaving the University of Florida for a 5-year, $27.5 million deal to coach the Orlando Magic of the NBA.

According to reports by ESPN’s Andy Katz, Donovan started re-thinking what he had done and by Saturday morning, he felt he might have acted too hastily in signing the deal with the NBA team.

Everything was in place for former Florida assistant and Virginia Commonwealth University coach Anthony Grant to take over at Florida. UF athletic director Jeremy Foley flew to Richmond Saturday to seal the deal with Grant but when he arrived at the Richmond airport, he got a call from Donovan. Within a half hour after landing in Richmond, the University of Florida jet took off and headed back to Gainesville.

Apparently Foley and Donovan met Saturday night and discussed his return to Florida. It was reported that Donovan asked out of the contract with the Magic on Sunday.

By Sunday evening, reports began to leak out that Donovan had a change of heart. Speculation heightened when the Richmond Times-Dispatch released a statement from Grant indicating that he had talked to Florida officials but had not met with them.


Katz reported on ESPN late Sunday night that Donovan had told the Magic he wanted to remain at Florida. Katz reported that the only hangup to a Donovan return would be the Magic demanding that Donovan honor the contract he signed, or the possibility that there would be a financial penalty demanded to release him.

Late Sunday night, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Magic will go ahead and release Donovan from the contract.


Donovan’s return will immediately affect the recruiting class of 2007, set to enroll in school in four weeks. McDonald’s All-American Jai Lucas was considering asking out of his letter of intent when Donovan announced he would be going to the Magic. Jordan All-American Chandler Parsons said Texas offered him a scholarship via his former AAU coach Tom Topping on Saturday. With Donovan returning, it is expected the recruiting class will remain intact.

The 2008 recruiting class took a hit over the weekend also when commitment Erving Walker of Christ the King in Middle Village, New York announced he was open with Donovan choosing the NBA. It remains to be seen if Walker will re-commit to Florida.

Donovan’s Elite Camp, set for mid-June, is back on again and it will likely be one of the most well attended camps in the country.

Previous articleSecond thoughts for Billy Donovan?
Next articleMeeting’s Over! Billy wants to stay!
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.