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Is Billy Donovan Leaving Florida? Should Bulldog Fans Care?

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder continue to look for anew head coach, and multiple reports continue to link current Florida coach Billy Donovan to the job. This isn't the first time Donovan's name has been linked to an NBA job. Heck, he took one for about ten minutes once. And there are still other candidates out there for the OKC job. In a perverse way, Donovan's name being on the tips of so many tongues for so long makes me think it's becoming less likely by the day that he actually lands the job. In these situations the longer decision makers think about a lot of candidates the more sour they get. Donovan is after a college coach with no real experience handling a pro team, or the attached egos. He would not be a safe hire, and pro sports-types love them a safe hire like a fat kid loves cake.

Ordinarily I'd have almost no interest in the NBA. I don't have any problem with others following it. I just find that the pro basketball season is a solid 6 weeks too long, actual fouls are called 30% too infrequently, and defense is played about 5% as often as it should be. But to the extent that an NBA coaching search affects Mark Fox's Hoop Hounds, it qualifies as news here at Dawg Sports.

Donavan's departure would be unlikely to hurt the Bulldogs' SEC standing. While the Gators and Bulldogs rarely cross paths on the recruiting trail, Donavan put Florida basketball on the map, and all other things being equal I'd say he's well above the mean in terms of college coaching results. The odds that the Gators replace Donavan with a guy who takes them to the same levels Donavan reached at the height of his career are low in my estimation. It's possible. I mean, the odds of replacing Ron Zook with a guy as successful as Urban Meyer weren't great either, and it happened. Gators went on a killer run there.

It would also be interesting to see how a Donovan replacement would work with the talent in Gainesville, which isn't insignificant by SEC standards, even with some losses. All other things being equal, I'd love to see Jeremy Foley try to catch lightning in a bottle on this one. Because replacing the only guy who's led your team to the Promised Land is never easy. And I love it when things in Gainesville aren't easy.