Pat Forde too because both these guys had whatever it is that they do when college basketball is not being played interrupted to write all of those nice “Billy Donovan Agonized Over Leaving Florida” articles for ESPN.com. Apparently Donovan was more agonized than even they knew since he has apparently changed his mind.
The Orlando Magic today will allow Billy Donovan out of his 5-year, $27.5 million contract that he signed on Friday.
“It’s over,” said a source close to the situation.
Donovan had reservations about leaving the Florida Gators for the NBA on Friday and spent all weekend trying to find a way to get out of his contract. On Saturday, Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith went to Gainesville to try to convince Donovan to honor the deal. Smith talked with Donovan again on Sunday, and so did Magic President Bob Vander Weide.
People are going to compare this to Bobby Cremins but it is actually is close to Roy Williams in 2000. The story I have always heard was that Roy came to town, met with the UNC officials and there was a handshake deal to come coach the Heels. Roy then returned to Kansas and once he got back there he saw the huge outpouring of support and love from the fans/community and decided to stay at Kansas. Obviously there was never in public introduction and in some cases in college coaches go months without actually signing the contract.
At this point I think we can say that Billy Donovan’s sense of loyalty was highly underrated.