Donovan meets the press (again)
Billy Donovan said his decision to walk away from the Orlando Magic "came down to my love for the University of Florida,'' during a news conference Thursday morning at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Donovan apologized to the Magic, the University of Florida, his family, players and the media for his change of heart. While acknowledging that his wife, Christine, University of Florida president Bernie Machen, athletic director Jeremy Foley, Donovan's father, Bill Sr., and the Magic were supportive throughout the process, Donovan said the decision to return to Gainesville was his alone. "This was a decision I made, and a decision I felt I had to handle by myself,'' he said.
Donovan, whose teams made 10 straight postseason appearances, went to three Final Fours and won consecutive national championships during his 11 seasons at UF, was introduced as the Magic's new head coach during a news conference on June 1 and signed a reported five-year, $27.5 million contract. But he said that when he woke the following morning, he "didn't have a good feeling in my heart.''
Donovan offered few details about the agreement that was struck to let him out of his contract with the Magic but said he was happy to accept a widely reported clause that will prevent him from coaching in the NBA for five years. "That was something I was glad to accept ... because I want to be at the University of Florida,'' he said.
Donovan said leaving UF for the NBA would have been a mistake for him and the Magic. He added that he no longer desires to coach in the NBA. "As long as the University of Florida will have me here, this is where I want to be,'' he said.
Donovan had kind words for Stan Van Gundy, whom the Magic hired as its coach. "They've got a guy there that, in my opinion, will do a great job,'' Donovan said.