• What Billy Donovan lacks in NBA experience will be covered by Durant, Westbrook and 'The Thunder Way'

    By Jenni Carlson | Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    COMMENTARY — New Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan’s transition to the NBA will be eased by a loaded roster.

  • Billy Donovan by the numbers: In 19 seasons, Donovan guided Florida to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances

    Compiled by Jenni Carlson | Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    BILLY DONOVAN: BY THE NUMBERS 19: Seasons as head coach at Florida. 14: Appearances in the NCAA Tournament at Florida. 4: Final Four appearances at Florida. 2: National championships at Florida. 16: Players who played in the NBA after playing for Donovan at Florida. 10: Players currently in the NBA playoffs who played for Donovan at Florida.

  • Five things you didn't know about Billy Donovan

    By Jenni Carlson | Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    BILLY DONOVAN: DID YOU KNOW? Donovan is one of only four men to appear in the Final Four as a player and win the national title as a coach. The others are Dean Smith, Joe B. Hall and Bobby Knight. After playing one season with the Knicks as a reserve guard, Donovan worked briefly as a stock broker on Wall Street. Donovan and his wife, Christine, helped to open a Catholic high school in Gainesville. They raised funds and encouraged plans, and in 2004, St. Francis High School opened. Donovan’s parents have lived in Gainesville since 1996. His dad, Bill Sr., has attended most every game and practice since.

  • What does Sam Presti really mean when he talks about Billy Donovan?

    Berry Tramel | Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    The Thunder has a coach. Billy Donovan is the man, unless he backs out and goes back to the University of Florida, like he did eight years ago, five days after taking the Orlando Magic job. I assume that won’t happen again. I assume Donovan and Sam Presti have had that talk. The Donovan press […]

  • VIDEO: Florida creates classy Billy Donovan tribute

    Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    Billy Donovan is the new coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a move the University of Florida saw coming, as it released a video tribute on Thursday via gatorzone.com. The 1-minute, 50-second video is pure class, and pays homage to Donovan's impact throughout his 19 years in Gainesville. From gatorzone.com: "Eight years after he backed out of a deal with the Orlando Magic, it was going to be hard for Billy Donovan to leave the Gators again. This time, though, it was the right time; the right situation."

  • Billy Donovan: Here's the Thunder's official statement announcing the hire

    Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

      The Oklahoma City Thunder's official statement announcing the hire of Billy Donovan as head coach: OKLAHOMA CITY, April 30, 2015 – The Oklahoma City Thunder named Billy Donovan the team’s new head coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Donovan becomes the third head coach in Thunder history after spending the past 19 years at the University of Florida where he led the Gators to two National Championships and four trips to the Final Four while amassing a record of 467-186 (.715). “We are thrilled to welcome Billy and his family to the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. When we began the process of identifying the next head coach of the Thunder, we started with a vision and the identifiable qualities that we felt were necessary for our organization as well as the ever evolving role of the head coach in today's NBA. We wanted to identify a person with the traits associated with high achieving leaders in their respective fields; a continuous learning mentality, the ability to adapt, evolve and innovate, intrinsically motivated, humility, and great tactical competence,” Presti said. “While we created a comprehensive analysis regarding the qualities we were looking for, it became quite evident that Billy was the ideal fit for the Thunder as we look to transition our team into the future. Billy has achieved an incredible level of success and experience within his 21 years as a head coach and has shown the unique ability to not only create but sustain an elite program. His emotional intelligence, commitment to the concept of team, and relentless approach to incremental improvement have allowed him to bring his players together and establish lasting relationships through competitive success. Billy's core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization.” ‎ Billy's core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization. During his tenure at Florida, Donovan led the program to 16 straight 20-win seasons, three 30-win seasons, 17 consecutive trips to the postseason and six SEC Championships. Under Donovan, Florida has advanced to the Elite Eight in six of the past 10 seasons. “We warmly welcome Billy and his family to Oklahoma City,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder Chairman. “He is the perfect fit for our organization and for our community and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.” After winning back-to-back national championships (2006 and 2007), Donovan led Florida to 18 straight postseason wins, the longest run for any program since John Wooden led UCLA to 28 straight postseason wins. This past season, Donovan became the second youngest coach in NCAA history (Bob Knight) to claim 500 career wins. “I am honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. I knew that it would take a unique opportunity to leave the University of Florida and that is clearly how I look at this situation,” said Billy Donovan, Thunder Head Coach. “The Thunder represents so many of the values that I embrace as a head coach; the commitment to the team above oneself, the dedicated pursuit of excellence, the commitment to organizational culture, the identity they have established and the fact that the Thunder and the community are so intricately woven into the fabric of one another. To have the ability to work with such a talented and high character group of players is also rare, and I am excited to forge ahead creating those relationships. It is of course bittersweet as the University of Florida will always hold a very special place in my heart and in my family's. I've had the good fortune of working with the best athletic director in the country in Jeremy Foley over the last 19 years, and I'll be forever grateful and thankful for the opportunity and his friendship. Countless players, students, and other people in the administration were responsible for our success and for the meaningful connection we had with the Gainesville community. I have a deep appreciation for what the University of Florida will always mean to me and I'll forever be a Gator.” Donavan has been the recipient of numerous collegiate coaching awards including ESPN.com’s National Coach of the Year (2001), the Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” Honor (2010) and SEC Coach of the Year (2011, 2013, 2014). In addition to his responsibilities at Florida, Donovan has served as head coach of USA Basketball’s U18 and U19 National Teams in each of the last three summers. As a head coach with USAB, Donavan’s teams have captured three gold medals while going a perfect 19-0 during national team competition. Prior to leading the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Team to the gold medal last summer in Colorado Springs, CO, Donovan guided the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team to a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal in Prague, Czech Republic and the 2012 USA U18 National Team to a 5-0 slate and gold in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil. Donovan’s coaching experience dates back to the 1989-90 season where he served as a graduate assistant coach at Kentucky. After five years with the Wildcats, Donovan was hired as head coach at Marshall where he spent two years before leaving for Florida. Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Donovan enjoyed a four-year playing career at Providence where he helped lead the Friars to their best season in school history and a trip to the Final Four in 1987. In addition, Donovan appeared in 44 games as a member of the New York Knicks during the 1987-88 season.

  • Thunder fans react to hiring of Billy Donovan

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    Billy Donovan will become the third coach in Thunder history after agreeing to a multi-year deal with the team just one week after Oklahoma City fired Scott Brooks.. Here's what some Thunder fans and Oklahomans had to say about Donovan as the next head coach.

  • Billy Donovan agrees to deal to become Thunder coach

    darnell mayberry | Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    A coaching search that started with Thunder general manager Sam Presti saying he wouldn’t limit the scope of candidates he would consider ended Thursday with Oklahoma City getting the one man it seemed to be after from the start.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Reports say Thunder zeroes in Florida coach Billy Donovan

    By Darnell Mayberry | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    ESPN and Yahoo! Sports reported that Donovan had entered into advanced contract negotiations with the Thunder on Wednesday, but a deal had yet to be finalized by the end of the day. A decision is expected within the next 48 hours, according to ESPN.com, which is citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: An extended examination of Billy Donovan's coaching style

    By Anthony Slater | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    “When I was 24 years old, I was forced to scout,” Donovan recalled during a 2014 press conference. “I was forced to coach, I was forced to teach, I was forced to break down film, I was forced to make decisions. There was not any area of coaching, when I was with Coach Pitino, that I wasn’t exposed to.”

  • Houston Rockets fire person who sent out horse and gun tweet

    Erik Horne | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    The Houston Rockets have fired their digital communications manager, Chad Shanks, apparently because of a tweet he sent out over the team’s Twitter account Tuesday night. Tuesday night, the Rockets closed out the Mavericks in their first-round series. Following the win, the tweet above was sent out with two emojis of a horse head and […]

  • Thunder: If you didn't like late-game coaching from Scott Brooks, brace yourself for Billy Donovan

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    One of the gripes about Scott Brooks heard most often over the years was his coaching late in games. Plays weren’t well-designed. Players in the game weren’t the best options. You might want to brace yourself, Thunder Nation. One of the biggest knocks on the prohibitive favorite to replace Brooks is poor coaching late in games. […]

  • Report: Billy Donovan 'leaning strongly' toward taking Oklahoma City Thunder job

    Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    The Billy Donovan-to-Oklahoma City reports are gaining momentum. ESPN is quoting sources that say: -- "The job is Donovan's to lose." -- Expectations in Gainesville, Fla., where Donovan is the Florida Gators coach, are increasing that he "is good as gone." ESPN says Donovan is leaning strongly toward taking the job.

  • Kevin Durant made Scottie Pippen's all-time starting five

    Erik Horne | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    When Scottie Pippen gives you props, you have to pay attention. The Hall of Famer fielded questions on Twitter this week and was asked about picking his all-time starting five. There was one catch, however – Pippen couldn’t select any members from Dream Team I which crushed all competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics in […]

  • Billy Donovan: University of Florida source confirms Donovan in talks with Thunder

    Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    A source at at the University of Florida confirmed to The Gainesville Sun Sun columnist Pat Dooley that Florida coach Billy Donovan and the Oklahoma City Thunder are in discussions. The school is awaiting word from the veteran coach whether or not he will return to UF for his 20th season.

  • Billy Donovan's track record of focusing players on the 'team over the individual'

    Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    Kevin Brockway of has covered Billy Donovan for The Gainesville Sun since 2003. With the Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly in talks with Donovan to make him OKC's next coach, here's Brockway summed up Donovan's potential as an NBA coach in a recent blog post: "One NBA source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, thinks that Donovan could have similar success: 'There aren’t a lot of coaches I’m high on from college making the jump, but Billy is one of them,” the source said. “I think he’s smart. I think his offense would work well and I think he understands it’s a players league and the importance of relationships with players.' "Another factor is Donovan’s ability to teach intangibles that go into winning. There are 10 former Gators in the NBA playoffs, more than any other program. Donovan not only develops players from a skill standpoint, but finds ways for players to accept and thrive in roles that promote the greater good of the team over the individual."

  • Commentary: Billy Donovan has Thunderous NBA offer he won't be able to refuse

    Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi thinks Billy Donovan will soon be coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Donovan, I've written many times, should stay at the University of Florida for the rest of his career and go down as one of the all-time coaching greats in college basketball history. “Then again, who can really blame Donovan for leaving UF when he has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. “Not many first-time NBA coaching candidates have the opportunity to become an entry-level coach on a championship-ready team with two  superstars -- Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook -- on the roster. If Donovan takes over and immediately wins a championship with the Thunder, he will become the hottest coaching name in America -- a college legend and an NBA rock star all rolled into one. “And if the situation doesn't work out in Oklahoma City; if the Thunder don't win the title and Durant and Westbrook end up leaving in the next two seasons, so what? Donovan can stay with the Thunder for three or four years, collect $7 million annually in NBA salary and then head back to college if he fails. Just like his mentor Rick Pitino. Just like his predecessor at Florida, Lon Kruger. Just like John Calipari.  Just like all the top college coaches who flame out in the NBA.”

  • Report: Thunder coach search 'completely focused' on Billy Donovan

    Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    The Billy Donovan-to-Oklahoma City rumblings have been getting louder and louder, and CBSSports.com sources say the Thunder is " completely focused " on the University of Florida coach. Donovan had a chance to make a move to the NBA when the Cleveland Cavaliers expressed interest in him last season. The Cavs ultimately went with David Blatt, and Donovan went back to Florida and signed a one-year contract extension in December. Donovan is making $4 million a year in Gainesville. Yahoo! Sports reported earlier Wednesday that the Thunder was preparing an offer for Donovan. The Gainesville Sun received confirmation from UF sources that Donovan was in talks with the Thunder.

  • Thunder reportedly 'pushing to hire' Billy Donovan as coach

    Anthony Slater | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    The Billy Donovan to OKC rumor mill is starting to gain some serious momentum. Late Tuesday night, ESPN reported that the Thunder and Donovan had begun “formally” discussing the vacant coaching position. On Wednesday morning,Yahoo reported that Sam Presti was “pushing to hire” the long-time Florida coach and “preparing an offer.” Donovan’s name has been floated around plenty […]

  • Billy Donovan doesn't answer calls, texts on reported Thunder talks

    Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    Florida coach Billy Donovan offered no immediate comment to a report that he has begun formal talks with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Donovan didn't answer calls or return texts from the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun on Wednesday morning, according to a story from Sun reporter Kevin Brockaway . Donovan is earning an average salary of $4 million from Florida. Donovan, 49, signed a one-year contract extension with UF in December. The contract buyout is $500,000.




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