Florida coach Billy Donovan is closing in on another notable coaching achievement.
Donovan, who posted his 400th career last win last season against Stetson, is closing in on his 400th win at Florida. Donovan is 398-160 in his 17th season at UF. If all goes well, Donovan could pick up win number 400 at the O’Connell Center on Saturday against Missouri.
Asked about the milestone on Monday, Donovan deflected the credit to his former and current players: “Being here a long time, that stands out, But I think for me, what I will reflect back on is that I have been really fortunate to coach a lot of really good players. Going all the way back to Jason Williams and to Mike Miller and to (Udonis) Haslem and to(Matt) Bonner and David Lee and to (Matt) Walsh and to (Anthony) Roberson and to (Joakim) Noah and to (Corey) Brewer, Patric Young, Brad Beal.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate that I have been coaching really, really good quality kids that have been brought into Florida and bought into winning. To be able to stay at one place this long, in today’s day and age, is very, very difficult to do. Those things, from a coaching perspective, any accomplishment or win number—I always thought was a total reflection of the guys you’re coaching.”
Overall, Donovan is 433-180 in 19 seasons at Florida and Marshall. Given his current pace, Donovan could reach the 900-win mark in college basketball if he continues to coach at the NCAA level another 20 years. By then, Donovan would be 67 and would join a select fraternity that currently includes Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski and Bobby Knight.
“Hopefully, he can get 400 more,” Florida junior center Patric Young said. “That would be nice. I think it’s always pretty cool when you get to be part of winning and get to be part of hopefully a future Hall of Fame coach. I’m very happy for him and I hope he has the greatest career ever and breaks all the records.”
– It was a good weekend from an RPI standpoint for the Gators. With Wisconsin knocking off Illinois and Marquette beating Pittsburgh, Florida’s RPI moved up eight spots to No. 9 according to RealTimeRPI.com. UF’s strength of schedule also improved from 16th to 13th.
– Hall of Fame basketball coach Bobby Knight will be calling color commentary for Florida’s game at Texas A&M on Thursday night. Knight and Donovan are two of only four men to appear in the Final Four as a player and win a national championship as a coach (Dean Smith and Joe B. Hall are the others.) Donovan said he has a cordial relationship with Knight, who will be calling his second-ever UF game. Knight also called UF’s win over Washington in 2008 at the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo. “Our paths crossed a lot when I was an assistant at Kentucky and he was at Indiana,” Donovan said. “There’s been different functions where we’ve spent time with each other there. I’ve always admired him, like being around him, enjoyed spending time with him. I can’t sit there and say that we talk once a week, but when we see each other. He was really, really kind to me. He called after both national championship games to congratulate us, and I always respected that about him and I really appreciated that.”