Florida's Donovan doesn't want to go anywhere
NEW YORK -- Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan wants to sign a contract extension soon to end speculation about his future and help recruiting.
Donovan, who guided the Gators to a second consecutive NCAA title this year, said Wednesday he is waiting for the president and athletic director to finalize his deal. He recently talked with the Memphis Grizzlies' owner, who is looking for a coach, but Donovan called the discussion "informal and not about the job."
"I'd like to get it done," Donovan said before receiving the New York Athletic Club's Winged Foot award along with Tennessee coach Pat Summitt. "It's not me. People think, 'He's trying to hold this up.' I would have liked to have done it a couple of days after [the championship game.]"
The award is presented annually to the national championship coaches.
Donovan, who passed on a chance to coach at Kentucky, met with Grizzlies' owner Michael Heisley in Florida. "He wanted to get to know me, and then from there, it never went anywhere," Donovan said.
Florida topped Ohio State for the NCAA crown, the first team since Duke in 1991-92 to repeat as champs. He's been at Florida for 11 seasons, and awaits word from president Bernard Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley.
"Really, it's in their hands right now," said Donovan, who has two years remaining on his current contract worth $1.7 million annually. "I feel good about where I'm at and where they're at."
"They're all top 10 picks in my opinion, just based on the way they've won," he said. "A year ago there was no expectations. This year, having to manage the expectations was a little bit different. It was challenging but also rewarding.
"The fact that they waited a year, they all made themselves better players, are closer to graduating and prepared themselves to play at the next level. I'll certainly be back in New York for draft night."
Donovan's incoming class includes guard Jai Lucas, the son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas.
"We're starting over," he said. "This will be a very, very young team."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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