Donovan gets 400th win at Florida

The players knew what Saturday meant. It was a top-20 matchup between two of the best teams in the SEC, but it was also an opportunity to get head coach Billy Donovan his 400th win at Florida. The achievement was announced when the game came to a close, but the real surprise came in the locker room when Florida center Patric Young doused Donovan with a bucket of water to celebrate.

"Basketball coaches don't have that happen to them very often," Billy Donovan said. I'll tell you what, that was really, really cold. I mean really cold. He got me pretty good."

The Florida players had to be creative to make it happen. After Donovan spoke to the team once they gathered in the carpeted part of the locker room, Patric Young had to lure him into another part of the room where the water wouldn't mess with the flooring. Young gestured for Donovan to follow so that he could show him something.

Waiting on the other side of the room was trainer Duke Werner, who was holding the bucket of water. Young picked it up and quickly drenched his head coach. While Donovan was caught off guard with how cold it was, the entire game served as one the players won't forget.

"It's just really cool to be a part of something like this with a coach that's going to be in the Hall of Fame," Young said.

The players didn't know of the potential milestone because of Donovan. It's not in the way he's wired to bring it up. However, there was still an understanding from the plays and the want to bring home the 400th win in such a hyped game.

"It means a lot," Kenny Boynton said. "For us to play and make coach happy, we played the way he wanted us to play tonight."

It's not that Donovan wanted to keep the milestone from his players. Whenever he talks about it, the players he's coaching in Gainesville and has coached in the past are always the topic of conversation.

But the players know that the numbers don't mean much to Donovan.

"He never even brings stuff like that up because he has done it all," Young said. "He's won national championships, played in the national championships and won SECs. He has done everything."

Saturday couldn't have been more perfect for Donovan. He was able to win his 400th game at Florida in the O'Connell Center with his wife in the stands and son on the end of the bench. He was able to do it in the stadium he has coached in for now 17 seasons.

"It's always special when you have friends, family, your players and the crowd," Donovan said. "All of those individual things, as it relates to coaching, is much, much more of a reflection of the players I've had a chance to coach here. That's what it's about. I don't look at them as my wins. I look at them as the University of Florida wins.

"Seeing even Jason Williams here today watching the game, he's a part of that, too. There's a lot of guys that are not in the building that were a part of it. I never looked at them as something I did. It's always a ‘we' thing. There's a lot of people involved."

Fightin Gators Top Stories