Florida Gators, Billy Donovan agree to contract extension


Legendary Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan gets a slight raise to remain in Gainesville through 2020.

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Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has agreed to a contract extension with Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan through the 2020 season, according to a report by Kevin Brockway of The Gainesville sun. 

The deal constitutes an amendment and one-year extension to Donovan’s current contract, raising his average salary to $4.067 million per year through 2020-21. Donovan averaged about $3.7 million per year under his previous contract.

Compare that to someone like Gregg Marshall, who just received $3.3 million to remain at Wichita State. It would take a major opening at a Duke or Kansas to even begin to lure Donovan away from Florida, but teams can’t be too careful with the amount of money being thrown around in coaching searches currently.

Donovan’s contract comes with some usual caveats, including $50,000 for an SEC regular season title and $150, 000 for a national championship. All of that makes Donovan the fifth-highest paid coach in college basketball, with Kentucky’s John Calipari leading the way.

The extension was initially agreed to last summer, following Florida’s run to the Final Four in 2013- 14 rather than its poor campaign in 2014-15. Donovan’s accomplishments with the Gators speak for themselves, making him worthy of whatever contract extension Florida wants to give him.

In 19 seasons at Florida, Donovan has complied a 467-185 record and led the Gators to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. That includes back-to-back national championships in 2005-06 and 06-07, the first titles in school history.

Florida’s 16-17 record and NCAA Tournament miss this season should’t cause much concern for the Gators’ future. Replacing the extremely successful senior core of Patric Young, Will Yeguete, Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather from the year before would be about impossible for anyone outside of Kentucky.

Donovan has already been through a similar mini-rebuild in the two  seasons following the back-to-back titles. The Gators were relegated to the NIT both years, but bounced back with four consecutive Elite Eights afterwords, including a Final Four.

With Donovan’s recruiting prowess, the Gators should be back up to national contender status soon. As long as he remains around, the Gators will typically be the biggest challenge to Calipari in the SEC.

Thanks to Donovan’s efforts, Florida is a destination job rather than a stepping stone. The extension and raise may not have been necessary to keep Donovan from being tempted by another college job.

It’s the NBA that Foley has to worry about. Donovan is somehow just 49 years old, leaving him plenty of time to build his career at the next level if he so chooses, and went so far as to agree to a contract with the Orlando Magic in 2007 before backing out the next day.

A contract extension doesn’t eliminate the possibility of Donovan jumping to the NBA. It does make it a little harder, which every Florida fan should be happy about.

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