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The latest on college sports in Florida

Magic Release Donovan

GAINESVILLE - Late Wednesday night, the Orlando Magic officially released Billy Donovan from his contract, nearly a week after the Florida coach announced he was resigning to become the head coach of that NBA franchise.

“As our signing of Billy Donovan showed, we are committed to winning a championship,’’ a statement released by Magic vice president of communications Joel Glass read. “We have the legal right to hold Billy to the contract he signed, but with him having a change of heart about leaving college basketball, we want him at the University of Florida. We have granted him permission to break his commitment and return to the Gators.’’

Terms of the agreement were not released, but one widely reported stipulation is that Donovan is prohibited from taking an NBA job for five years.

Donovan was announced as the new Magic head coach last Friday, conducting press conferences in both Orlando and Gainesville. But in a statement released late Wednesday night, the two-time national championship coach said he made a big mistake accepting the job.

"I have had and will continue to have the highest respect for the Orlando Magic, its organization, and its ownership.  I realized in less than 24 hours after signing a contract with the Magic that I had made a
mistake that had nothing to do with the Magic.  Instead, I realized that, in my heart, I belonged in college basketball.  As soon as I realized that, I contacted the Magic immediately to let them know.  I
have enormous respect for the Magic - including the DeVos family, the management, the team and the fans.  In these circumstances, it would have been entirely unfair to the Magic and their fans to have continued on.  Although this has been a difficult time for everyone, for which I am profoundly sorry, in my heart I know that this is the right thing for the Magic and for me.  It's my admiration for the whole Magic organization that led me to this course of action.  I believe that the Magic has a great future ahead of them, and I wish them all the best."

Florida will hold a press conference Thursday to officially announce Donovan's return.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:16pm]


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