And The Greatest UF Coach Is….

Posted: March 9, 2012 in Florida Gators
Tags: , , , ,

Regardless of how this college basketball season ends, Gator fans need to understand and appreciate how fortunate they are to have Billy Donovan as their coach.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel calls Donovan the greatest coach in the history of the state of Florida. I can’t go that far. That honor belongs to FSU’s Bobby Bowden, who took over a joke of a football program in a state not known for football and turned the Seminoles into a juggernaut.

Donovan, however, deserves nearly every accolade you can bestow upon him. Perhaps I appreciate what Donovan has done more than most having grown up loving my North Carolina Tar Heels. I know how difficult it is the win a national championship – much less back to back titles as Donovan did.

The fact that Donovan has turned Florida into a powerhouse program is even more impressive considering the apathy Gator fans have for the sport. No Gator coach – not Steve Spurrier or Urban Meyer – has equaled his accomplishments.

I just thought Gator fans needed a reminder.


  1. Wyman says:

    I am not a Gator fan, but I am a Billy Donovan fan. However, I think Steve Spurrier must be rated the best ever University of Florida coach. He turned the Florida football program into a national program, as well as, a national title contender, while coaching in one of the toughest football conferences in America. Without the money made from the Spurrier era development of the UF football program to support other sports, basketball included, it’s unlikely a Billy Donovan caliber coach or championship caliber players would have arrived to play for the UF basketball program.

    I don’t take anything away from Billy Donovan; he’s a great coach. However, it appears Donovan is no longer attracting top recruits you would expect Florida to attract after two NCAA Championships (back to back, as you said), therefore one must question whether Donovan has had more than one significant national recruiting class, maybe two, to make the Florida program more than a fluke, while Kentucky’s dominant program was more down than up.

    Spurrier’s accomplishments and public personality make him the alltime best coach at Florida in any sport. Billy Donovan has had major accomplishments at Florida. He still has the basketball program at a very competitive conference level, with appearances in the NCAA Tournament most years, yet, I wouldn’t call Donovan a coach with personality. Nothing against his style and attitude, but he is meek compared to Spurrier. I would call him the second greatest coach in UF history, only because I pity whoever must step in his shoes when he retires someday. Two national titles has guaranteed him lifetime employment as Florida’s head basketball coach, if he maintains a reasonable level of success. Even if he doesn’t, he would not be let go before Florida was back where it was before he arrived; well before he arrived, in fact.

    Urban Meyer was a man lucky enough to reach a peak, before it became obvious he had risen to his level of incompetence. I suspect he will have some initial success at Ohio State, then lose his job or retire, once more, as he did at Florida. Without Tim Tebow, it’s doubtful Urban Meyer would be more than someone Florida fans would prefer to forget. In fact, Florida fans do seem to prefer to forget Urban Meyer was ever Florida’s coach.

    Sorry I couldn’t agree with you, David Lamm. When I am not rooting for Kentucky and other Kentucky schools, I’m rooting for Billy Donovan to do well, even though I am not a Florida fan. Billy Donovan may be similar to Tubby Smith, one of my favorite coaches, even before he landed at Kentucky, won a national title, then watched his coaching career go downhill. If Billy gets his kind of players, BillyBall players, he does much better as a coach. I’ve never tried to define exactly what a BillyBall player is, but I am guessing it would be a B+ caliber player, who has the potential to rise to an A or A+ player on the college level. That’s a little better than the caliber player Tubby Smith may work best with. This is one more reason I put Spurrier over Billy. Billy lacks the arrogance and personality of a Rick Pitino or a Steve Spurrier. I like him better for that; he’s human. Thank you for the post.

    Very hard to not build up Billy Donovan as much as possible. Florida fans should recognize and better support the Billy Donovan basketball program. It might help attract BillyBall players to the school. One day, I see Billy Donovan voluntarily stepping down from the Florida program, because I think that’s the kind of human being he is. He knows when it is time for him to move on to something else or somewhere else. I do not look forward to that day. I wish him much success, except when playing Kentucky schools….well, I can forgive him if he whips-up on Rick Pitinio while he is at U. of L. Pitino and Calipari have always struck me as outsiders in the state. Can’t argue with their success, but I am convinced they don’t belong. Maybe that makes me an outcast in my birth state. Now, I would take Billy Donovan, although I don’t think he deserves the misery of coaching at either big Kentucky school. Goooooooooooo LAMM! Your HEELS are going to LOSE. (Look forward to your honest evaluation of this year’s NCAA Tournament. Hope the Final is less boring this year…unless you know who runs away with it.)

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