By Gary Parrish
Florida announced Friday that Billy Donovan has signed a three-year extension that places him under contract with the school through the 2015-16 season.
"Billy Donovan has built one of the elite programs in the country at the University of Florida, he and his family have given 16 incredible years to this institution and community," said Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley. "His accomplishments speak for themselves. ... We’re thrilled that he will continue to lead our program for years to come."
As is the case with all contracts in college sports, Donovan's extension doesn't necessarily mean he'll lead Florida's program "for years to come." I mean, he probably will and I have no reason to think he won't. But if Donovan wants out he can get out at any time just like every other coach in America. Simply put, these announcements never mean what a coach or school wants you to think they mean. They're usually announced just to offset opposing schools telling recruits that a coach is leaving for this job or that job "because he doesn't even have an extended contract." That's why Donovan being extended through the 2015-16 season makes sense. Now he can tell high school seniors that he has a contract that'll keep him in Gainesville "through their senior years of college."
Anyway, this is no time to pick apart coaching contracts.
I can do that whenever.
I'd rather spend the rest of this space reminding everybody just how unbelievable Donovan has been at Florida because sometimes I think that gets overlooked. When fans talk about the sport's best coaches I usually hear names like Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Bill Self and Brad Stevens, and those names all make sense. But Donovan belongs on any short list. For proof, consider this: Florida had just five NCAA tournament appearances and one SEC championship in the program’s 77-year history before Donovan arrived in 1996. Since his arrival, the Gators have made 11 NCAA tournaments, three Finals Fours and won two national championships, and they've won four SEC regular-season titles and three SEC tournament titles.
Bottom line, I don't know if Donovan will really lead Florida "for years to come."Again, that's not necessarily what the extension means.
But I do know this: He's been damn-good leading Florida since the moment he got to campus.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE