On the heels of the Gators men's basketball team clinching at least a share of the SEC regular season championship, everyone was reminded of one thing. Why hasn't Billy Donovan won the SEC Coach of the Year award yet? He has already won the 2010 John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award and the 2006 Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award.
Even the Gainesville Sun is picking up the issue. Kevin Brockway does an excellent job in his article which you can find here. But then there are articles such as this one from John Pennington at MrSEC.com which tout Alabama head man, and former Billy Donovan pupil Anthony Grant for SEC Coach of the Year.
Why is this even an issue at all? Well, Billy Donovan has been snubbed on more than one occasion. Go ahead and pick your favorite season for the snub, they are virtually all the same. Back to Back NCAA National Championships in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Don't forget that Billy lead the Gators to the Final Four (and finished the season runner-up) in 2000. SEC Tournament Champions in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
But that is postseason you say. That's alright, how about the fact that a Billy Donovan lead Gator squad has finished as SEC regular season champions in 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2011. John Brady of LSU (2000), Rod Barnes of Ole Miss (2001) and Andy Kennedy of Ole Miss (2007) all took home the award instead of Donovan. The only coach still even employed at the same school is Andy Kennedy.
So the question still remains, why hasn't Donovan won the award yet?
Could the answer be in the expectations for the program? Sure, but then how does one explain the 2000 and 2006 seasons in which the team came out of no-where to almost win and win the NCAA Championship? The answer is that it can't be explained.
Do media members not like Donovan? Maybe they are jealous that he is the highest paid coach in college basketball, maybe some of the voting members are big-time Orlando Magic fans, maybe the jealousy arises out of the fact that four of Billy Donovan's former assistants are now head coaches. Who knows, maybe it is because he is from New York? Nah, that can't be it.
The time for excuses are over. There is no reason why it shouldn't be this year. It is time for Billy Donovan to be named SEC Coach of the Year.