Florida is a football school and that may always be the case. However, the basketball program has had a lot of success ever since Billy Donovan took over as the head coach. According to ESPN.com, Donovan is not making any promises about returning next season — could make the jump to the NBA. Let’s just put it this way: Florida is doomed if the head coach bolts for the NBA.
Donovan has coached the Gators to two national championships. He has also coached the school to four straight Elite Eights. This past season, his team earned the overall No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament and made a run to the Final Four.
Changing head coaches for any school is going to see a big change in that program. In Florida’s case, it probably would not be a good change — at least initially. Donovan is a great recruiter and lands some of the best freshmen in the country on a yearly basis. Landing talented players is one thing, coaching them to Elite Eights and national championships is a completely different story, which is exactly what Donovan does.
I am sure highly ranked recruits would still want to come to Florida. After all, the Gators are now relatively rich in history when it comes to their basketball program. However, Donovan has always done such a great job at molding his players. His program manages to succeed with a combination of upperclassmen and highly rated recruits.
In the 2013-14 college hoops season, Donovan had four senior starters on his team. That is not the most common thing in the world at a powerhouse program nowadays (one-and-done era).
No matter what, I wish Donovan the best of luck in whatever he does. He is an amazing coach and has turned a football school into one of the best basketball schools on a yearly basis. Still, Florida basketball could be doomed without him.