Later Gator, Billy Donovan Agrees To Coach Oklahoma City Thunder
By Pete Thamel, SI.com // April 30, 2015
SI.com – Billy Donovan will become the next coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, an industry source told SI.com on Thursday.
The Florida coach has been in negotiations with Thunder general manager Sam Presti since Tuesday and the two sides reached an agreement early Thursday afternoon.
The terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Donovan was Oklahoma City’s top target from the time the organization fired Scott Brooks on April 22. ESPN first reported the negotiations late Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Yahoo! Sports revealed that Presti had flown to Gainesville on Tuesday to meet with Donovan in person.
By Thursday, multiple media outlets had reported that a deal was being “finalized.”
Donovan will take over a Thunder team that appears poised to compete for a championship right away. And no doubt, the expectations in Oklahoma City will be to bring home a title.
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Original Story: April 30, 2015
The Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly nearing an agreement to hire Florida coach Billy Donovan and could announce him as their new head coach as early as Thursday, ESPN reported.
ESPN first reported on Wednesday that Donovan and the Thunder had begun discussing Oklahoma City’s coaching vacancy, while Yahoo reported that both parties met Wednesday to discuss contract language.
The Thunder are seeking to replace Scott Brooks, who was fired on April 22 after seven seasons including five postseason appearances. The Thunder missed the playoffs this season.
According to ESPN, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina is on Thunder general manager Sam Presti’s short list of candidates. University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie withdrew his name from consideration after being linked to the job.
Billy Donovan, 49, is 502-206 in 21 seasons at Marshall and Florida.
He has spent the last 19 seasons with the Gators, compiling a 467-186 record with two national championships, six regular season Southeastern Conference titles and four conference tournament titles.
This season, the Gators finished 16-17 and failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.
The school recently extended Donovan’s contract through the 2020 season, and he is set to make about $4 million next season. His buyout should he leave for an NBA job is only $500,000.
Donovan has had NBA interest before. He agreed to take the coaching job with the Orlando Magic in 2007 shortly after winning a second national championship, but he ultimately decided to return to Florida.