Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Coaches bring star power to NCAA Tournament's West Region semifinals

PHOENIX — The star power at US Airways Arena this week extends beyond any player in the NCAA Tournament's West Region semifinals. Three of the four coaches — Florida's Billy Donovan, Louisville's Rick Pitino and Michigan State's Tom Izzo — have won national championships. Only Marquette's Buzz Williams has not.

The three are among the top 15 winningest active Division I men's coaches — Pitino is No. 11 (.729), Izzo No. 13 (.710) and Donovan No. 15 (.704) — and combined have led their teams to 14 Final Fours. Combined, the three have won 1,459 games.

But Donovan downplayed the star power talk.

"Well, one thing I'd say about it is everybody has to start somewhere," he said. "All of us, Coach Pitino, Tom Izzo, myself, Buzz, you have to start somewhere. … Sometimes I think people's perception of coaches, they've won a national championship, but I had to start somewhere. Coach Pitino had to start somewhere. So did Tom. … I think you can do a great job in coaching and be a tremendous coach and never get to a Final Four, and have a tremendous program. There's a lot more that goes into it."

Williams, who has 110 career victories in five seasons overall, couldn't escape questions about his place with the other three coaches, but he handled them with ease — and humor.

"I wish that would have been a question on the SAT, I wouldn't have had to go to junior college," Williams said. "The word association on the SAT, I would have gotten that right. …

"All of them have won national championships. All of them have coached in the league (NBA) or decided they didn't want to coach in the league. And the league that I should be in is the Lone Star Conference, a Division II league in Texas. I should be an assistant in that league. So I don't belong. I don't compare. Those three guys are the ultimate example of what this business should be about as people, the ultimate example of what they should be about as coaches."

GATOR GATHERING: Former Gator Neal Walk attended Florida's open practice Wednesday at US Airways Arena. Walk (1966-69) was the first All-American in Florida history and is the only Gator player to have his number (41) retired. Still UF's all-time rebound leader, he played eight NBA seasons with New Orleans, New York and Phoenix. Also hanging with the Gators was former assistant coach Richard Pitino, who is now an assistant on his father's Louisville staff.

FORGET HOSPITALITY: No offense, Florida fans, but the mayor of Phoenix will be rooting against the Gators in tonight's game vs. No. 3 seed Marquette. Mayor Greg Stanton is an alumnus of Marquette University and will be in attendance openly cheering for his former school.

MISPERCEPTION?: Marquette's players have repeatedly referred to Florida's penchant for 3-point shooting, and some said on Wednesday the Gators have some serious defensive deficiencies. Florida C Patric Young said he's unsure why opponents keep assuming they are just a 3-point shooting team with no defense, but he's okay with it. "I like that," he said. "I want them to think that. We'll see."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Coaches bring star power to NCAA Tournament's West Region semifinals 03/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Lightning-Penguins game

    Lightning Strikes

    Man, is Nikita Kucherov fun to watch. He has a goal in all but one game this season and points in all nine. You have to watch him each time he is on the ice because he is going to do something you do not want to miss: a goal, a shot that requires a tough save, a nifty pass to set up a linemate for a goal.

  2. No. 20 UCF beats Navy 31-21 for first 6-0 start

    College

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Central Florida finally had been tested in a tight game, and someone wondered if coach Scott Frost enjoyed seeing how his team reacted to the situation.

    Freshman  Otis Anderson gives UCF plenty of reasons to celebrate after scoring the final touchdown of the game to clinch bowl eligibility for the Knights.
  3. No. 8 Miami survives Syracuse test, beats Orange 27-19

    College

    MIAMI GARDENS — By Miami's new standards, this game was decided early.

    Sophomore Travis Homer on Miami’s hot start: “We’re 6-0, but that’s not our final goal. That’s not going to get to our head.”
  4. Stroud: Bucs need to stop digging holes on road

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    HARVARD SQUARED: Tight end Cameron Brate catches a TD from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
  5. Topkin: A busy offseason for Rays approaching as postseason winds down

    The Heater

    Tuesday's opening of the World Series means the end of the postseason is in sight and that the offseason maneuvering, which starts five days after the final out, can soon evolve from talk to action.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi smiles at Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer after Mauer broke up Odorizzi's no-hit bid with a single during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)