Billy Donovan - Gators Head Coach
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<!- START SINGLE BAR --><!- END SINGLE BAR --> Head Coach Billy Donovan
13 Years at Florida (331-139, .704)
15 Years overall (366-159, .697)
2006 and 2007 National Champions
2000, 2001 and 2007 SEC Champions
2000, 2001, 2002 and 2007 SEC East Champions
2005, 2006, 2007 SEC Tournament Champons
2000 NCAA runner-up
As a player he was known simply as "Billy the Kid." A player with fire, passion and discipline. An overachiever.
A kid no more, Donovan has done the unthinkable in 14 years at Florida. He has taken a program that experienced pockets of success and has made history.
Two National Championship and three appearances in the title game.
Three consecutive SEC Tournament titles, the only three in UF history.
The No. 1 ranking in the nation in four of the last eight years, including starting and finishing the 2006-07 season in that spot.
12 straight 20-win seasons, two 30-win seasons, including a school record 35 wins in 2006-07.
Thirteen consecutive postseason appearances.
There was a time when any of these goals seemed unattainable for the University of Florida basketball program. Until March 27, 1996 when Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley hired the up-and-coming Donovan who has turned the Gators into a perennial national power.
Under Donovan the once unattainable goals of the program have become a reality, as he taken the University of Florida and established it among a very short list of elite programs in the nation. He has joined the greats in his profession and elevated the University of Florida to be mentioned among the great programs in college basketball. In 2007 his Gators became just the seventh team in NCAA history and the first in 15 years to win back-to-back titles. He joined Adolph Rupp as only the second coach in SEC history to guide his team to multiple national titles. In April of 2010 he received the Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor, the youngest recipient ever.
For those who have followed Donovan’s career it should come as no surprise that he has made Florida basketball a winner.
He was a winner at Providence College, where he led the Friars to their best season in school history and a trip to the Final Four in 1987. He was a winner when he laced it up as a New York Knick with the elite athletes in the NBA. He was a winner in five years as an assistant at Kentucky and was part of the Wildcats’ Final Four run in 1993. He was a winner as a head coach when he inherited a struggling Marshall program and in two short years won more than 60 percent of his games and put fans back in the seats. And now he has created Hoop Hysteria in Gainesville. Donovan is one of only two people in the history of Division I college basketball who have played in a Final Four, served as an assistant coach on a Final Four team and participated in the Final Four as a head coach.
Under Donovan, Florida has set a school record with 13 straight post-season appearances, including NCAA Tournament appearances 10 of the last 12 seasons, and put together 12 consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.
UF made the school's first-ever appearance in the National Championship game in 2000 before winning the title in both 2006 and 2007. Donovan has won 22 NCAA Tournament games, more than triple all previous UF coaches combined, and on Dec. 20, 2006, became the school’s all-time leader in career wins, posting his 236th at UF, a total he has since risen to 331, fifth in SEC history (needs just 10 wins in 2010-11 to move into fourth).
After the school had just one Southeastern Conference Championship in 77 seasons prior to his arrival, Donovan has tallied three SEC titles (2000, 2001 and 2007). Florida and Kentucky are the only two SEC schools to capture consecutive league crowns in the past 34 years. Florida has captured four SEC East titles under Donovan and won three straight SEC Tournament titles from 2005-07, the only three in school history.
Florida won 261 games in the first decade of this century, the fifth-highest total in the nation and the highest total in the SEC in that time, and nearly 100 wins better than any other decade in UF history.
His winning percentage at UF (.704) is the best among all Gator coaches who spent more than one season in Gainesville and he reached the 100-victory mark at UF quicker than any coach in school history, needing just 154 games to reach the century plateau. He won his 200th game at UF on Dec. 3, 2005 and broke the school record for wins on Dec. 20, 2006, doing so in 92 games fewer than previous record-holder Norm Sloan. In 2008-09 he became the first UF coach to win 300 games and owns a mark of 331-139 in 14 seasons at Florida and is 366-159 in 16 seasons overall as a head coach.
Donovan's teams have knocked off 49 ranked opponents during his tenure, including a 14-2 mark during the Gators’ two-year run as NCAA champions. UF has won 40 of its last 67 meetings with ranked teams.
Donovan's squads have led the SEC in a statistical category 46 times, including 37 offensive categories. A total of 28 of his players have earned All-SEC honors while 15 of his freshmen have been recognized as among the best in the league, including in 2007-08 when Nick Calathes was selected SEC Newcomer of the Year at co-SEC Freshman of the Year.
Eight of Donovan's players have been first round draft picks in the NBA Draft, after the school boasted only two before his arrival and he has inked 13 McDonald's All-Americans after UF had just three prior to his arrival. In 2007, the University of Florida became the first school to have three players taken in the top 10 picks of the NBA Draft, as Al Horford went third overall, Corey Brewer seventh and Joakim Noah ninth. UF had five players taken in the 2007 NBA Draft and with Marreese Speights being taken in the first round in 2008, UF has had five first round picks since 2005. The fans have taken notice, attendance is up by over 5,000 spectators a year since Donovan's arrival and UF shattered the school record for average attendance in 2006-07 with an 11,826 average per game, including a school record 12,621 in the Gators’ thrashing of Ohio State on Dec. 23, 2006. A record 226,815 fans passed through the turnstiles of the O’Dome in 2007-08.
Off the court, Donovan's players have excelled in the classroom. A league-best 52 Gators have been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll under Donovan, including a league record six in 1997 and 1998. In 2002-03, Matt Bonner earned his second consecutive Academic All-American of the Year award while earning First Team Academic All-America honors for the third straight year. Carrying a 3.98 GPA, Bonner is also the only player in school history to be named to the Academic All-American team three times. Lee Humphrey added to that list in 2005-06, earning Second Team Academic All-America honors, while earning First Team honors in 2006-07. Humphrey was the two-time winner of the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. Twenty of the 23 seniors who have suited up to play for Donovan have graduated from the University of Florida.
The 45-year old Donovan, who was officially hired as Florida’s 17th head coach on March 27, 1996, has certainly lived up to his national reputation as one of the nation’s top young coaches who preaches an up-tempo, full-court, pressing style of play built around a tremendous work ethic.
The work ethic at Florida started in the recruiting trenches. Just eight months into the job in Gainesville, Donovan landed two of the premier prep players in the state (4A Player of the Year Major Parker and 6A Player of the Year Brent Wright). With a full year under his belt, Donovan and his staff pushed themselves even harder and the results showed. Once again, the focus of the recruiting efforts remained in Florida and the Gators got early commitments from four of Florida’s best – Teddy Dupay, LaDarius Halton, Udonis Haslem and Sylbrin Robinson. Those early commitments allowed Donovan and his staff to pursue one of the nation’s most coveted high school stars, South Dakota standout Mike Miller. Miller, who joined Dupay on the prestigious McDonald’s All-American team, chose Florida over Kansas and Kentucky to give the Gators a consensus top-five recruiting class. Proving that class was no fluke, Donovan put together another consensus top-five recruiting class in 1999. This one landed another pair of McDonald All-Americans (Brett Nelson and Donnell Harvey joined Matt Bonner and Justin Hamilton as freshmen in 1999-2000). Florida was the only school in the nation to have multiple selections in the 1998 and 1999 McDonald’s All-American games. The 2000 class included a Parade All-American, Orien Greene. The 2001 class featured a nation's best three McDonald's All-Americans - Kwame Brown, David Lee and James White, although Brown declared for the NBA Draft. Donovan's five-man recruiting class in 2002 - highlighted by another McDonald's All-American Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh again ranked among the nation's best. Corey Brewer was the ninth McDonald's All-American recruited by this current coaching staff, while Jai Lucas and Nick Calathes became the 10th and 11th McDonald’s All-Americans signed by Donovan. Current Gators Kenny Boynton and Patric Young are the 12th and 13th McDonald’s All-Americans signed by Donovan, while Vernon Macklin, a former McDonald’s All-American, transferred to UF after his sophomore season at Georgetown giving UF three McDonald’s All-Americans on the current roster.
The recruiting efforts have paid dividends on the floor. After inheriting a squad that scored 66.8 points a game, shot .429 from the field and won just 12 games the year before his arrival, Donovan’s squad's have ranked among the nation's best, averaging 26.1 wins per season the past decade while scoring nearly 80 points per game.
In 2009-10, the Gators made their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 12 years, posting wins over No. 2 and returning NCAA runner-up Michigan State along the way. Erving Walker earned Second Team All-SEC honors, while Kenny Boynton earned SEC All-Freshman honors. A relentless team, the Gators rallied from halftime deficits five times on the year.
The 2006-07 squad will go down as one of the great teams in college basketball history, closing out with a 35-5 mark, starting the year as No. 1 in the nation, and finishing the year in the same spot after another convincing NCAA Tournament run. With the pressures of college basketball’s first possible repeat champion in 15 years, Donovan pushed all the right buttons, managing the complex personalities of one of the most talented lineups in the history of college basketball.
Florida dominated the Southeastern Conference, going 13-3 and winning the school’s fourth SEC title and only its second outright title. The Gators demolished the field at the SEC Tournament to win the school’s third straight title in the event.
Each of Florida’s top six players were honored by the league, as Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer earned First Team All-SEC honors, Taurean Green earned Second Team honors, while Lee Humphrey was the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and Chris Richard the Sixth Man of the Year. Noah (Second Team) and Horford (Third Team) earned AP All-America honors for their tremendous efforts.
The Gators went 8-1 against ranked opponents, including 3-0 against top-five teams. The Gators won their first six games of the season before dropping two out of three with a depleted roster. Donovan then led the team to its third 17-game winning streak in the last two years, as the Gators held the No. 1 spot from Jan. 15 until Feb. 19, the longest continuous run in school history.
After winning the SEC regular season title, the Gators shifted into another gear as the postseason approached. Florida won each of its three SEC Tournament games by 17+ points, waltzing to a third straight title behind an MVP performance from Horford.
After dismantling Jackson State in the NCAA Tournament opener, the Gators rallied from a two-point halftime deficit against Purdue to advance to the school’s fourth Sweet 16 in the last nine years. Donovan guided the Gators to wins over Butler and Oregon to advance to the Final Four for the third time in his tenure and the second straight year behind a regional MVP performance from Green.
At the Final Four, the Gators proved to once again be the dominant team in college basketball, easily defeating UCLA in the national semifinal, then completing a dream season with a nine-point victory over Ohio State in the national title game, as Brewer earned MVP honors.
The 2006-07 Gator squad led the nation in field goal percentage (.526) and margin of victory (+17.2), while leading the SEC in seven major categories.
The 2005-06 team was one of the truly special teams in recent basketball history, tearing through the NCAA Tournament field to the Gators’ first NCAA title. Donovan led the Gators to a then-school record 33 wins, including a record 17 straight to start the season. Florida served notice early in the season starting the year unranked and marching to the title of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden, beating ranked and much more experienced opponents, Wake Forest and Syracuse in the process.
Florida reached New Year's undefeated for the first time in school history and finished regular season non-conference play a perfect 14-0. After finishing second in the SEC East, Florida turned it up a notch once the calendar turned to March. Florida defeated Kentucky at Rupp Arena for the first time since 1998, taking a 15-point decision on Senior Day. The Gators then stormed Nashville and took home their second straight SEC Tournament title, defeating Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina to claim the crown.
Florida then raced through the NCAA Tournament, demolishing its opponents by an average of 16.0 points per game in its six victories. The Gators opened with 26 and 22-point wins respectively over South Alabama and Wisconsin-Milwaukee and then swept Big East opponents Georgetown and Villanova in the Minneapolis Region to advance to the Final Four. Once in Indianapolis at the Final Four, Florida left no doubt about the most dominant team in the 2006 tourney, beating George Mason by 15 in the national semifinal, then UCLA by 16 in the national title game. Florida became the first school since UCLA in 1968 under legendary coach John Wooden, to win both the national semifinal and the final by 15+ points.
Joakim Noah earned Final Four MVP and Minneapolis Region MVP honors and was tremendous during the NCAA Tournament. The 6-11 forward averaged 16.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and swatted an NCAA Tournament record 29 shots over the six games.
Noah earned First Team All-SEC honors while Donovan's ideal plan of balance was executed to its fullest potential in 2005-06. All five starters averaged in double-figures. All five were honored by the SEC. Florida finished second in the nation in field goal percentage and was among the national leaders in assists, as the group took Donovan's lead, made the extra pass and played the game unselfishly.
During the Gators’ two-year run as national champions, Donovan has led the squad to 18 straight postseason wins, the longest by any program since the great UCLA teams of John Wooden won 28 straight games. Donovan’s teams have broken 64 school (individual and team), SEC and NCAA Tournament records over the past two years.
The 2004-05 season did nothing but solidify Donovan's place among the coaching elite, as he guided the Gators to a 24-8 mark and the school's first SEC Tournament title. Donovan blended a team with returning upperclassmen David Lee, Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh and Adrian Moss with a group of talented freshmen and sophomores.
The Gators won 12 games in SEC play for the fourth time under Donovan and led the league in scoring and scoring margin. Most notably, however, the Gators finished third in the league in points per game surrendered, a vast improvement after finishing 11th the year before.
Anthony Roberson was runner-up for SEC Player of the Year, earned Honorable Mention All-America from the Associated Press and First Team All-SEC from both the league coaches and AP. David Lee became the first Gator in 15 years to average a double-double in SEC play and earned Second Team honors across the board while Matt Walsh was a Second Team choice by the league coaches.
The Gators were brilliant down the stretch, winning six of their final seven regular season games, capped with a 53-52 victory over Kentucky on senior day before a then-school record crowd of 12,602 fans. The Gators then stormed through Atlanta, taking the toughest route possible, defeating Mississippi State, a team it had lost to earlier in the year, defeating SEC West champion Alabama, then picking up a 17-point win over Kentucky in the title game. The win over Kentucky gave Florida two wins over the Wildcats in the span of a week, the first team to beat them twice within a 10-day stretch since 1920.
Florida reached the NCAA Tournament and held off a solid Ohio team in the opening round before running into one of the hottest teams in the nation in Villanova in the second round. When it was all said and done the Gators had won 20 games for the seventh straight year, reached the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight year, made history in the SEC Tournament and had finished with the fourth most wins in school history.
In 2003-04, Donovan came up with, arguably, one of his finest coaching efforts, molding the third youngest team in the nation into a squad that reached the SEC Tournament Championship game for the first time in a decade.
Eight of the 10 scholarship players at the season's end were in either their freshmen or sophomore years, as Donovan used a combination of seven different starting lineups throughout the year. Staring at 14-8 on Feb. 18, Donovan inspired his team to six wins in their final eight games heading into the NCAA Tournament, as the Gators won 20 games for the sixth straight season and reached the Dance for the sixth straight year.
Anthony Roberson earned Honorable Mention All-American honors and First Team All-SEC honors from both the coaches and Associated Press, while Matt Walsh earned Second Team honors from each and David Lee earned Second Team honors from the league coaches and Third Team honors from the AP. Roberson averaged 17.9 points per game, the highest ever by a Donovan-coached player at UF, while Walsh's 15.8 points per game were the fifth best single season average by one of his players at the time.
The season was filled was thrilling finishes, as the Gators defeated third-ranked Arizona at the Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Mass., when Bonell Colas cut to the basket and finished a lay-up in the closing seconds, a victory that helped the Gators reach No. 1 in the nation on Dec. 8. Against Alabama in the SEC Tournament, Lee Humphrey hit a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Gators a thrilling 75-73 overtime victory, while Roberson followed the next day with a 35-point outburst against Vanderbilt, the most points by a Gator in over 20 years.
The 2002-03 team reached uncharted territories in one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Gators set a school record with 24 regular season wins, while reaching No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history on Feb. 3, 2003. The Gators earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, their highest positioning ever in the postseason, while their 25 wins overall were the third most in school history.
A year after finishing just 2-7 in games decided by five points or less, Donovan's squad became a gritty bunch that found a way to win the close ones, claiming seven games decided by five points or less in 2002-03. The Gators tied the school record with a 14-game winning streak, while setting a new O'Connell Center record with a 19-game home winning streak that extended over the final four games of the 2001-02 season until the 2002-03 home finale. Florida was ranked wire-to-wire for the fourth straight year, while matching the school record for SEC wins in a 16-game season with 12.
Anthony Roberson earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors, the first Gator to do so in nearly two decades, while Matt Bonner earned First Team All-SEC honors, Honorable Mention All-America honors, was the Verizon Academic All-American of the Year for the second straight year and was honored as the Men's College Basketball Student Athlete of the Year.
The 2001-02 squad set school records with its fourth consecutive NCAA appearance and a fourth consecutive 20-win season while Donovan led the Gators to a share of their third straight SEC Eastern Division Championship. Florida put together a school-record 14-game winning streak and climbed to a then program-best number two ranking in both polls in the January 14th rankings. Florida posted a final record of 22-9, with the nine losses coming by just an average of 5.0 points per game - the lowest margin of defeat in school history. Florida trailed by more than 10 points just twice all year and seven games came down to the final possession. Florida boasted a league-high five SEC Academic Honor Roll selections and the squad featured the National Academic All-American of the Year (Matt Bonner). In all the Gator squad set 12 team records, including a then-school-best attendance average of 10,805.
The 2000-01 squad tied a school record with a third straight 20-win season and a third consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament. At the NCAA Tournament, UF won its opening round game for the third straight year for the first time in school history. The final tally showed 24 wins and a share of the Southeastern Conference Championship for the second consecutive year. UF was ranked No. 8 in the final Associated Press Poll, the highest finish in school history. Reaching those milestones wasn't easy. Florida players missed a combined 33 games because of injuries during the season and UF players had four surgeries during the SEC schedule. UF played at full strength for just nine games and none after December 28th. Florida played one game with seven scholarship players, 11 games with eight scholarship players and 10 games with nine scholarship players. Three of Florida's starters went down with injuries in a week span of the SEC schedule and after a 1-3 start to the SEC slate, the outlook was not good. UF's character and will prevailed, as the Gators won 11 of its final 12 league games, with the only loss a buzzer beater at Kentucky.
The 1999-2000 squad will go down as one of the greatest in school history. With preseason expectations higher than ever, the squad became the first in school history to be ranked in the national polls wire-to-wire. The season began with a sold out crowd of 12,487 to witness Florida's 35-point win over Florida State in the O'Connell Center. The season ended with 43,116 fans on hand at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis to watch the school's first-ever appearance in the National Championship game.
In between, there were a lot of other firsts for the Gator hoop program. For the first time in school history season tickets were sold out before November. The Gators went 12-4 in Southeastern Conference action to share the league championship with Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU - only the second SEC crown in the 81-year history of the program. Florida averaged 9,783 fans and averaged a school record 11,593 fans for SEC home games. The fan support, coupled with UF's average margin of victory of 31.3 points per game, supported one national magazine's preseason claim that the O'Dome is the "Scariest Place to Play" in the nation. Florida made a school record 31 appearances on television, including eight on CBS and six on the ESPN Networks. UF faced a school-record 11 ranked opponents during the year and knocked off the nation's top-ranked team (Duke in the NCAA East Regional Semifinal) for the first time in school history. A day later UF topped Oklahoma State to advance to the Final Four for the second time in school history and make Donovan just the sixth coach to both play and coach in the Final Four. He then became the fifth of those coaches to appear in the national title game after Florida defeated North Carolina in the National Semifinals.
When the storybook season ended with UF's highest final ranking in school history (second in the ESPN/Coaches' Poll), a total of 34 school records were set. Living up to his offensive trademark of running and pressing, UF led the SEC in scoring, scoring margin and assists.
Donovan's third squad won 22 games (the fourth most in school history at the time), advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time in school history and averaged 80.3 points per game. UF’s 1998-99 regular-season winning percentage of .731 was the third best in school history and its 10 conference wins were the second most at UF since the league went to a 16-game league format in 1992. En route to setting or tying 30 school records, the 1998-99 Gators became only the second squad in school history to be ranked in the Final Polls (17th in ESPN and 23rd in Associated Press). UF led the SEC in three point field goal percentage, three pointers per game and steals. For the second consecutive year, Florida led the league with five selections to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Donovan’s 1997-98 Florida squad made the school’s first post-season appearance in three years and won more games and league contests than the year before despite playing a school-record tying eight ranked opponents. The Gators led the nation in an offensive team category for the first time in school history after posting an NCAA best 9.83 three pointers per game and they also led the Southeastern Conference in three point field goal percentage accuracy. All told, the 1997-98 team set six single-season records and four game records, while a league-record six student-athletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. The Gators defeated No. 7 Kentucky at Rupp Arena to mark the first time in 10 years Florida had defeated a ranked SEC team on the road and ended a 10-game slide to the Wildcats. The win also marked the first time the Gators would defeat the eventual national champion in the regular season.
The first order of business on the court in season number one for Donovan was conditioning. The Gators lost a combined 61 pounds and decreased their body fat by a combined 27.7percent before he ever coached a game at UF. Despite replacing three starters and more than 50 percent of the scoring from a club that won 12 games the year before and playing with just six scholarship players for over half of the SEC schedule, Donovans first Florida squad broke nine school records during the 1996-97 season and won more games than the year before. The Gators ranked 10th nationally and went from worst to first in the league in three point shooting percentage as UF led the league in an offensive category for the first time since 1988-89. Every player who scored during the season set or tied career highs in single-game scoring, while seven of the eight players scored more points in 1996-97 than they did in their entire career entering the season.
Donovan’s work ethic also gave Marshall University, home of Donovan’s first head coaching job in March of 1994, a basketball facelift. Donovan inherited a program that went 9-18 the year before his arrival and turned a nine-man squad into believers. The result - an 18-9 record and a North Division Championship in the Southern Conference. Marshall averaged just 13 victories a season in the six years before Donovan arrived and finished the 1993-94 season as one of the 10 most improved teams in the nation. Along the way, six school records fell as smooth as three-pointers swishing in the net in Donovan’s fast-paced offense. The Thundering Herd set school records for three pointers in a game (17), three-point attempts in a game (35), three-point attempts in a season (693) and three-pointers made in a season (253). Marshall led the Southern Conference in scoring (84.4), scoring margin (+6.8), free throw percentage (74.2), blocked shots (4.1), steals (11.2), turnover margin (plus-123) and attendance (6,574). Donovan was named the National Rookie Coach-of-the-Year by Basketball Times and added Southern Conference Coach-of-the-Year and West Virginia College Coach-of-the-Year (by West Virginia Sportswriters Association) honors.
It was more of the same in Donovan’s second season in 1994-95. Marshall went 17-11, set five school records and led the league in scoring (91.4), field goal percentage (.495) and three-pointers per game (10.1). Nationally, the Thundering Herd offense ranked third, while its field goal percentage and three-pointers a game ranked sixth and second, respectively.
In two short years, his Marshall teams posted an overall mark of 35-20 (.636) and captured a league championship. In 55 games at the helm of the Thundering Herd his teams averaged 88.8 points a game, shot .472 from the field, .382 from three-point range and .717 from the line. On the average, his squads attempted 25 three-pointers a game and connected on 9.8 per game. Eleven times his squads had 100-plus points in a game and there was a 2,000-fan increase at the turnstiles in his two-year tenure.
Prior to his coaching job at Marshall, Donovan spent five years on Rick Pitino’s staff at Kentucky. Donovan joined the Kentucky staff as a graduate assistant coach in 1989. Prior to the 1990-91 season he was promoted to assistant coach and then to associate coach before the 1993-94 season. During his five-year stay at Kentucky, the Wildcats posted a 122-38 (.762) record and advanced to the Final Four in 1993. In addition to his duties with on-floor coaching, Donovan also had a hand in recruiting all of the upperclassmen on the 1996 National Championship team.
As much as any assistant has digested and learned from the up-tempo, full-court, pressing philosophy adapted by Pitino, Donovan may have as good a grasp as any. Not only did he spend five years under Pitino at Kentucky, he also played the style under him at Providence and later, with the New York Knicks in the NBA.
A native of Rockville Centre, N.Y., Donovan was a part-time player for the Friars in his first two seasons, averaging just over two points as a freshman and three points as a sophomore. Enter Pitino as head coach at Providence in 1985, and “Billy the Kid” was born. Once considered undersized and underdeveloped, Donovan thrived under the new system and finished his career as one of the premier players in Providence history. As a junior he averaged 15.1 points a game and shot better than 50 percent from the field at the guard spot. Donovan then averaged 20.6 points a game and earned honorable mention All-America honors (UPI) as a senior, capping off a magical ride to the 1987 Final Four by being named the Southeast Regional Most Outstanding Player. Donovan still holds four Providence school records (single season three pointers - 97; three-point attempts in a game - 16; three-point attempts in a season - 237; minutes played in a season - 1234). Donovan was inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame in June of 1999 and was named to the 10-man All-Time Providence Civic Center Team in January of 1999.
In the 1987 NBA Draft, Donovan was drafted in the third round (68th overall) by the Utah Jazz, where he played in the preseason before being waived. After a brief stint in the CBA with Wyoming, Donovan rejoined Pitino after signing a one-year contract as a free agent with the Knicks. Donovan played in 44 games, averaging 2.4 points and 2.0 assists per game.
After his one-year stint in the NBA, Donovan worked with an investment banking firm on Wall Street for a year before joining Pitino at UK.
Donovan’s work ethic and never-say-die attitude was instilled at a young age, when he played at St. Agnes High School in Long Island, New York. Never having enough time at the gym, Donovan was known to have propped open the door to the gym before leaving practice so he could return on his own to shoot. On at least one occasion, his worried mother, Joan, found his bed empty at 2 a.m. No worry, said his father, William, who was a standout guard at Boston College and graduated in 1962 as the third leading scorer in school history. Check the gym, and you will find him. Eventually, the school custodian gave Billy a key to the gym, and later his father built a lighted court in the back yard. The results paid off as Donovan earned first-team All-Long Island honors his last two seasons and led St. Agnes to the Long Island Catholic High School Championship his senior year.
Donovan and his wife, Christine, have four children, William (18), Hasbrouck (16) and Bryan (13) and Connor (8).
The Donovan File
1989-90 Kentucky Graduate Assistant Coach
1990-93 Kentucky Assistant Coach
1993-94 Kentucky Associate Coach
1994-96 Marshall Head Coach
1996-Present Florida Head Coach
Year-by-Year Coaching Record
Year School Overall Record League Post-season
1994-95 Marshall 18-9 (.667) 10-4 (.714)
1995-96 Marshall 17-11 (.608) 8-6 (.571)
1996-97 Florida 13-17 (.433) 5-11 (.313)
1997-98 Florida 14-15 (.483) 6-10 (.375) NIT; 0-1
1998-99 Florida 22-9 (.710) 10-6 (.625) NCAA Sweet 16; 2-1
1999-00 Florida 29-8 (.783) 12-4 (.750) NCAA Runner-Up; 5-1
2000-01 Florida 24-7 (.744) 12-4 (.750) NCAA Second Round; 1-1
2001-02 Florida 22-9 (.710) 10-6 (.625) NCAA First Round; 0-1
2002-03 Florida 25-8 (.758) 12-4 (.750) NCAA Second Round; 1-1
2003-04 Florida 20-11 (.645) 9-7 (.563) NCAA First Round; 0-1
2004-05 Florida 24-8 (.750) 12-4 (.750) NCAA Second Round,; 1-1
2005-06 Florida 33-6 (.846) 10-6 (.625) NCAA Champions; 6-0
2006-07 Florida 35-5 (.875) 13-3 (.813) NCAA Champions; 6-0
2007-08 Florida 24-12 (.667) 8-8 (.500) NIT Semifinals; 3-1
2008-09 Florida 25-11 (.694) 9-7 (.563) NIT Quarterfinals; 2-1
2009-10 Florida 21-13 (.618) 9-7 (.563) NCAA First Round; 0-1
Overall 16 Years 366-159 (.697) 155-97 (.615) 13 postseason appearances
Rec. at UF 14 Years 310-126 (.712) 137-87 (.612) 27-11 (22-8 in NCAA)
Basketball Times National Rookie Coach-of-the-Year, 1994
West Virginia College Coach-of-the-Year, 1994
Southern Conference Coach-of-the-Year, 1994
Gainesville Sun Sportsperson-of-the-Year, 1999
NABC District VI, Coach-of-the Year, 2000
ESPN.com National Coach-of-the-Year, 2001
NABC District VI Coach of the Year, 2003
United States Sports Academy, National Coach of the Year, 2007
1983-87 Providence College
1987-88 New York Knicks (NBA)
Honorable Mention All-America (UPI), 1987
All East, 1987
NABC All District, 1986 (second team), 1987 (first team)
All Big East, 1986 (third team), 1987 (first team)
New England Player-of-the-Year, 1987
Providence Male Athlete-of-the-Year, 1986, 1987
Providence Captain, 1986, 1987
Providence MVP, 1986, 1987
NCAA Southeast Region Most Outstanding Player, 1987
Big East All-Tournament Team, 1987
All-Time Providence Civic Center Team, 1999
Providence Hall of Fame, 1999
St. Agnes High School, 1983
Providence College, 1987 (Bachelor of Arts in General Social Studies)
Date of Birth:
May 30, 1965
Family: Wife - The former Christine DAuria
Children - William (13, 2/10/92), Hasbrouck (11, 3/12/94), Bryan (8, 1/6/97) and Connor (3, 11/18/01)
Billy Donovan Timeline
1996 As a disciple of the up-tempo style of play for the previous 11 years (three as a player and seven as a coach), Donovan was named head coach of the University of Florida in March of 1996…After inheriting a squad that won just 12 games, averaged 66.8 points per game and shot .429 from the field the year before his arrival, Donovan quickly elevated the University of Florida among to the nation's elite…Florida has experienced unprecedented success under Donovan, having reached the NCAA Tournament eight consecutive years, a first in school history, while winning the school's first national title in 2006…His 1999 squad reached the Sweet 16, while the 2000 squad was the national runner-up, Florida's first appearance in the national championship game…Over the past nine seasons, Donovan's teams have won 236 games or 26.2 per season…Florida reached No. 1 in the nation in both 2002-03 and 2003-04…In 2005, Donovan guided the Gators to their first SEC Tournament title, adding to the two regular season SEC crowns and three SEC East titles Florida has won under his guidance…In 2006 the Gators won a then-school record 33 games including the final 11 of the season, winning the SEC and NCAA Tournament titles…The Gators became the first team in 15 years to win back-to-back NCAA titles, as his 2007 squad won a school record 35 games, including the final 10, winning the SEC East, Tournament and overall titles in addition to the NCAA title…Donovan has signed 12 McDonald's All-Americans during his time at UF and has produced eight NBA First Round Draft picks, including Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah all going among the first 10 picks of the 2007 NBA Draft.
Donovan as a player:
Providence Overall 3-Point
YEAR G FG FGA (PCT) FG-FGA (PCT) FT FTA REB ASST. PTS AVG
1983 84 28 25 68 (.368) ---------- 15 21 (.714) 23 85 65 2.3
1984 85 29 41 87 (.456) ---------- 10 15 (.667) 16 71 92 3.2
1985 86 31 183 358 (.511) --------- 103 130 (.792) 49 147 469 15.1
1986 87 34 203 467 (.435) 97-237 (.409) 199 236 (.843) 102 243 702 20.6
TOTALS 122 452 980 (.461) 97-237 (.409) 327 402 (.813) 190 546 1328 10.9
New York Knicks
YEAR G FG-FGA PCT FT-FTA PCT REB PTS AVG
1987-88 44 44-109 .404 17-21 .810 25 105 2.4
Donovan vs. opponents as a player: (67-54)
Alabama-Birmingham 1-0; Alabama 1-0; American 1-0; Assumption 2-1; Arizona 1-0; Arkansas-Little Rock 1-0; Austin Peay 1-0; Boston College 5-3; Boston University 1-0; Brown 4-0; Chaminade 1-0; Connecticut 5-2; Dayton 0-1; Farleigh Dickinson 0-1; Georgetown 2-9; George Mason 1-0; Hofstra 1-0; Holy Cross 4-0; Howard 4-0; Illinois State 0-1; Long Island 0-1; Louisiana Tech 0-1; Maine 2-0; Marquette 0-1; Miami 1-0; Northeastern 1-0; Notre Dame 0-2; Penn 1-0; Pittsburgh 2-6; Rhode Island 4-0;
Richmond 0-1; Rider 1-0; Seton Hall 9-1; Siena 1-0; St. Johns 4-6; Syracuse 0-8; Temple 1-0; Tulsa 0-1; Villanova 2-7; Virginia 1-0; West Texas State 1-0; Xavier 0-1.
Donovan vs. opponents as a head coach: (366-159)
American University 2-0
Appalachian State 3-2
Arizona State 1-0
Central Florida 5-0
Central Michigan 2-0
Charleston Southern 3-0
Coastal Carolina 3-0
Eastern Illinois 1-0
Eastern Kentucky 4-0
East Tennessee State 2-2
Florida A&M 10-0
Florida Atlantic 1-0
Florida Gulf Coast 1-0
Florida State 8-6
George Mason 1-0
Georgia Southern 9-0
High Point 3-0
Jackson State 1-0
Jacksonville State 1-0
Kansas State 0-2
Long Island 1-0
Louisiana Tech 1-0
McNeese State 1-0
Miami (Fla.) 3-1
Michigan State 2-3
Milligan College 1-0
Mississippi State 10-7
Missouri-Kansas City 1-0
Montana State 1-0
Morehead State 2-0
Morgan State 1-0
New Hampshire 3-0
New Orleans 2-0
Nicholls State 1-0
North Carolina 1-0
North Carolina Central 1-0
North Carolina State 2-0
NC Wilmington 1-0
North Dakota State 1-0
North Florida 2-0
Ohio State 2-1
Oklahoma State 1-0
Penn State 0-1
Prairie View A&M 1-0
Puerto Rico 1-0
Robert Morris 1-0
St. Peter's 1-0
Sam Houston State 2-0
San Diego State 1-0
Savannah State 1-0
South Alabama 2-1
South Carolina 20-10
South Florida 3-0
Southern Utah 1-0
Tennessee Chatt. 5-1
Tennessee Tech 1-0
Utah State 1-0
Wake Forest 1-1
Weber State 1-0
Western Carolina 1-1
Western Kentucky 2-0
West Virginia 2-2
Florida's NCAA Tournament Coaching Victories
Coach Tournaments Record
Billy Donovan 10 22-8
Lon Kruger 2 4-2
Norm Sloan 3 3-2
Did You Know…Billy Donovan's 22 NCAA Tournament wins more than triples the number of NCAA Tournament games UF had won in school history prior to his arrival?
Coaches Who Have Played and Coached in the Final Four
Vic Bubas North Carolina State Duke
Billy Donovan Providence Florida
Dick Harp Kansas Kansas
Bob Knight Ohio State Indiana
Bones McKinney North Carolina Wake Forest
Dean Smith Kansas North Carolina
Did You Know….Billy Donovan and Dick Harp are the only two who have played in a Final Four, served as an assistant coach on a Final Four team and was a head coach of a Final Four team? Donovan served as an assistant on the 1993 Kentucky team that advanced to the Final Four, while Harp served as an assistant on the 1952 and 1953 Kansas teams that advanced to the Final Four.
Florida First Round Draft Picks Under Donovan
Name (Year) Team Overall Pick
David Lee New York 30th selection overall
Mike Miller (2000) Orlando 5th selection overall
Donnell Harvey (2000) New York 22nd selection overall
Jason Williams (1998) Sacramento 7th selection overall
Al Horford (2007) Atlanta 3rd selection overall
Corey Brewer (2007) Minnesota 7th selection overall
Joakim Noah (2007) Chicago 9th selection overall
Marreese Speights (2008) Philadelphia 16th selection overall
Did You Know….Florida had just two first round draft picks prior to Donovan's arrival?
Florida's SEC Statistical Champions Under Donovan
Year Category Mark
1997 3-Pt FG Percentage .374
1998 3-Pt FG Per Game 9.83*
1998 3-Pt FG Percentage .400
1999 3-Pt FG Percentage .379
1999 3-Pt FG Per Game 9.32
1999 Steals Per Game 10.03
2000 Scoring Offense 83.8
2000 Scoring Margin +15.0
2000 Assists 16.51
2001 Scoring Offense 80.9
2001 Scoring Margin +13.8
2001 3-Pt FG Percentage .383
2001 Free Throw Percentage .729
2001 Assists 17.35
2001 Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.19
2001 Defensive Rebounds 26.65
2002 Scoring Offense 80.5
2002 Scoring Margin +13.9
2002 Assists 16.74
2002 Assist/Turnover Radio 1.12
2003 3-Pt FG Percentage .390
2003 3-Pt FG Per Game 8.70
2004 FG Percentage .482
2004 FT Percentage .750
2004 3-Pt FG Per Game 8.03
2005 Points Per Game 76.2
2005 Scoring Margin +13.1
2006 Scoring Margin +14.7
2006 FG Percentage .500
2006 3-Pt FG Percentage .392
2006 FT Percentage .744
2006 FG Percentage Allowed .399
2006 3-Pt FG Percentage Allowed .318
2007 FG Percentage .526*
2007 3-Pt. FG Percentage .409
2007 3-pt. FG Percentage Allowed .285
2007 Scoring Defense 62.6
2007 Scoring Margin +17.2*
2007 Rebounding – Defense 29.1
2007 Rebounding Margin +8.5
2008 FG Percentage .488
2008 Assist/ Turnover Ratio 1.39
2008 Rebounding- Defense 31.8
* Led the NCAA
Did You Know…Florida has led the SEC in an offensive team statistic 34 times under Billy Donovan after UF had led the conference in an offensive team statistic just three times prior to his arrival?
SEC Academic Honor Roll Selections (1997-2010)
Mississippi State 40
South Carolina 18
Ole Miss 16
Did You Know…Florida's six SEC Academic Honor Roll selections in 1997 and 1998 were a league record?