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View Full Version : What separated Donovan from other good coaches?



BobZag
06-01-2007, 09:33 AM
Did he merely have a "perfect storm" with perfect chemistry and ideal players, or does it go beyond that. Remember, he led UF to the Championship Game in 2000 and they had some odd characters on that squad. Teddy Dupay comes to mind. And also, UF is a diehard SEC football school, not a hoops school. The Gators rarely soldout during these last two seasons!

There are some great coaches, but very few have had Billy's success. Not even Roy Williams at storied KU and UNC.

Why is this? Is Donovan just better?

MickMick
06-01-2007, 10:34 AM
Did he merely have a "perfect storm" with perfect chemistry and ideal players, or does it go beyond that. Remember, he led UF to the Championship Game in 2000 and they had some odd characters on that squad. Teddy Dupay comes to mind. And also, UF is a diehard SEC football school, not a hoops school. The Gators rarely soldout during these last two seasons!

There are some great coaches, but very few have had Billy's success. Not even Roy Williams at storied KU and UNC.

Why is this? Is Donovan just better?

Right place, right time. A few breaks here, a good draw there. The kid's mom likes Florida more than Kentucky. A sum of the parts. I don't think Donovan is vastly superior to the top NCAA coaches (including Few).

Taking a mid major to a BCS level is an equal feat. By that I mean building a reputation that is good enough to bring an ACC school 3000 miles to play in a 6,000 seat gym. To me, that is every bit as improbable as winning back to back championships.

A couple good runs, a solid foundation, a few breaks, and here they are. That is how I look at Donovan as well.

FuManShoes
06-01-2007, 10:43 AM
The easy answer is Donovan was a great recuiter. I mean this back-to-back championship squad had what, 4 NBA lottery picks and probably another couple NBA regulars in Humphrey and Richard. But I think it goes well beyond that. He must be one hell of a motivator, both to get his players interetsed in coming back (I know Donovan must have had something to do with that decision), and then to actually lead them to the promised land when everyone was out to get them. Not only that, but his teams seem to have that clutch quality where role guys perform or even over-achieve under the bright lights. Guys like Horford, Brewer and Humphrey come to mind. I have no idea how Donovan's skills will translate in the NBA. Many an inspirational and talented college coach has made the jump and bombed. I think a lot of it is pure luck - do you get to hinge your success on a LeBron or a Kwame?

CDC84
06-01-2007, 10:48 AM
I think what Billy D. proved once and for all is that coaching basketball at a football school is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a very good thing, and it is far more desirable than coaching at a basketball school in many instances.

At a football school you have all the resources in the world, but you are allowed to just do your job so long as you win. People just leave you alone. When you coach at a place like Kentucky, it's not just about winning, but how you win, and by how much.

There is a big difference.

Perhaps the next basketball school that fires its coach will keep Billy D. and Florida in mind before they foolishly call Rick Barnes at Texas for their vacancy.

deathchina
06-01-2007, 01:13 PM
Oooops. I got the 94 florida Final Four team confused with the 2000 version.

While the 2000 team had some serious talent (Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem), they weren't by any means stacked....I think you have to give Donovan credit as a gameplanner and motivator. In any case, everyone says recruiting is most of the battle when it comes to college sports...

gamagin
06-01-2007, 01:33 PM
package.

He brought in the best he could persuade to come, nurtured them, and they in turn set their goals as high as they could and then did everything in their power to reach the top.

even passing up early pro careers to chase the dream twice. No doubt some of them could really use the money and security of a pro career. they risked permanent injury, too. these were not small decisions.

Players, coaches, staff admn., all never once took their eyes off the prize.

I remember early on hearing Noah being interviewed. Several others, too, throughout the season.

To a man, they were always looking forward, never satisfied, never finished, seemed to always say "we" when asked a personal question, seemed anxious to get back to work, were quick to sincerely credit everyone involved, refused to take singular praise, and seemed to really love and trust each other right up to the last game.

And it worked.

It's one thing to assemble all that talent. Quite another to manage it.

Billy did it all. And he got it all back, too.

It's a great sports story with a thousand implications. All of them good.

jazzdelmar
06-01-2007, 01:52 PM
Billy D didnt look too genius when he lost to Manhattan in the first rd a cple yrs ago..a team with David Lee, among others....He's just another Slickster, even channellng Pitino's speech patterns...

CDC84
06-01-2007, 02:57 PM
Billy D didnt look too genius when he lost to Manhattan in the first rd a cple yrs ago..a team with David Lee, among others....He's just another Slickster, even channellng Pitino's speech patterns...

All great coaches make mistakes at times, and the mistake that Billy D. made was recruiting some of the highly ranked players that composed that FLA squad that lost to Manhattan...namely, Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh, who were two of the most selfish players I have ever seen play D-1 ball. What's worse is that those guys were known to be problems in high school, but despite numerous schools dumping them, Billy D. took them on. I'm not sure if Coach K could've rescued that team. That team was totally dysfunctional, and played defense that made the past 5 Zag teams look like the Detroit Pistons. They were the classic example of a team loaded with talent that self destructed under the weight of its own egos.

That team was the turning point for Billy D. After that he made the commitment to recruiting on the basis of character as much as talent. Once he did that, Billy D. was allowed to be what he has always been: a player's coach. Guys like Roberson took advantage of that aspect of him, whereas guys like Horford, Noah, etc., thrived on it. And needless to say, the addition of Larry Shyatt to his staff, who is one of the true defensive gurus in college basketball, helped their defense considerably. He hired the right guy.