The Gators beat the Stetson Hatters in unimpressive fashion last night, 88-67, in their final tuneup before they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday in Gainesville.
The win for the 5th ranked Gators was not the huge story of the night, however. The spotlight was on head coach Billy Donovan, who won his 236th game as a head coach at UF, breaking the all-time school record held by Norm Sloan:
Head Coach Victories Seasons
Billy Donovan 236 11
Norm Sloan 235 15
Sam McAllister 119 10
Lon Kruger 104 6
It is truly remarkable to think about what Billy Donovan has done for the basketball program at the University of Florida in his 11th season. He has brought us some of the best players in the history of the program in guys like Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Matt Bonner, and Jason Williams (despite the off-the-court problems). He has brought 2 SEC titles to the program in his tenure, while the pre-Donovan era only brought 1 in 77 years. He has brought numerous NCAA tournament appearances and of course, the program's lone National Title coming in his 10th season as head coach.
While Donovan may have become a victim of his early success at Florida, with his teams losing in the first weekend of the Tournament 5 times in a row following a Final Four appearance in 2000, a lot of Billy D critics have changed their tunes. A national title and a bright outlook on the future will do that kind of thing.
There are a lot of great basketball coaches in the country right now. Bruins Nation loves 'em some Ben (Howland)-Ball. The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a coach who is about to set the all-time coaching wins mark. However, there is not one coach I would trade for Billy Donovan right now. None. Period. End of story.
Photo courtesy of Gatorzone.com