Billy Donovan is essentially the longest-running show in Gainesville. He just got picked up for a few more seasons, signing a contract extension that runs through 2019, as David Jones of the FLORIDA TODAY and USA TODAY Sports reports.
Jones reports that the deal will remain at the current value of "about $3.5 million per year" and tacks on three years to an existing contract that ran through the 2015-16 season, and additionally notes that the deal was agreed to in principle in the summer of 2013 and finalized in February.
It makes sense to both have had a deal in place and make an announcment this week. As Adam Silverstein of Only Gators notes, it's not hard for Donovan and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley to come to terms.
@Goldkamp247 @AlligatorArmy Donovan and Foley have a handshake agreement with his contracts. Signing them has always been a formality.— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) March 25, 2014
And, basically, as long as Foley's his boss, Donovan can coach at Florida for as long as he would like — and probably will coach at Florida for some time to come. The two men enjoy a strong working relationship, and it would be somewhat surprising for Donovan to leave before Foley does.
But Donovan's past flirtation with the NBA, and the seemingly perpetually tenuous position of the New York Knicks head coaching job — the best gig available with Donovan's favorite childhood team, and the team he played for briefly when Rick Pitino coached them — will keep that iron in the fire for reporters to fiddle with, and Donovan was asked about potential NBA interest last week. He gave responses that boiled down to "Well, who knows?" — but those were still enough to get an Associated Press story written about his interest.
Now, about a week later, we get the news of an extension that should keep Donovan in orange and blue — and gray, and black, and the other colors of the sweats and suits he wears — with virtually the same amount of green going into his bank account.
Obviously, this is a good thing, as it's always better to have a great coach locked into a contract on paper for as long as an organization can. And this contract should keep Donovan in town through both the high school graduation of his youngest child and the renovation of the O'Connell Center, which may well include getting Donovan's name on the court, as Florida president Bernie Machen hinted at over the weekend.
The timing of this news still feels like a reaction, at least to me. And while I get that this obviates the "need" for reporters to ask dumb questions about Donovan's NBA interest, it could just as easily have been announced last week, right?