As we reported earlier this week, Florida coach Billy Donovan is close to signing a contract extension.

On Wednesday, Donovan revealed that it will be a five-year extension that will take him through the 2015-16 season.

When Donovan signed his 6-year, $21 million extension in June of 2007, he was the second-highest paid coach in the country behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski ($4.1 million). Donovan ($3.5 million annually) currently now ranks fourth behind Krzyzewski, Kentucky coach John Calipari ($4 million annually), and Kansas coach Bill Self ($3.6 million annually).

Donovan’s mentor, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, made $6.1 million in 2010-11, but $3.6 million came in a lump-sum bonus for completing three years of his contract. Pitino’s average salary is $2.5 million.

How much of a raise should Donovan get for his extension? There was some rebuilding during the four years of his current contract extension, but he’s taken Florida to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances the past two seasons. Florida is coming off a 29-8 season and reached the Elite Eight for just the fifth time in program history. Four of those trips have come under Donovan.

Donovan has won two national titles, more than Self (1) and Calipari (0). Donovan has taken Florida to three Final Fours and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in 15 seasons. His career NCAA Tournament record is 25-9 (.735). It is the third- highest winning percentage among active coaches behind just Krzyzewski (79-23 .775) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams (58-19, .753).

Florida basketball will never draw like Kentucky or North Carolina, but the Gator basketball program is profitable, making $2.2 million in 2009.

Donovan’s Achilles’s heel always has been tight ballgames (52-64 career record in games decided by 5 points or less). But there is something to be said for putting your team in position to win against some teams that have superior talent.

And it appears that Donovan, at 46, still relates well to his players.

“I just like the way he interacts with us,” Florida sophomore point guard Scottie Wilbekin said. “I feel like he connects with us. I get what he is trying to say. I understand what he’s telling me to do on his court. I like that.”

So how much is Billy D worth? Four-million dollars per year? 4.5 million? Your thoughts …





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