Donovan to be Honored Friday Night

Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan will be in Los Angeles Friday night to receive the John Wooden "Legends of Coaching" Award. Donovan is the 12th recipient of the honor and the youngest. The award recognizes the achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden's high standards of coaching success and personal Integrity.

Donovan just finished his 14th season with the Gators and 16th of his coaching career. He has guided the Gators to 13 post-season appearances including 10 NCAA Tournaments, three Final Fours and two National Championships. The Gator mentor is flattered by the recognition.

"I think it's a great honor. I'm sure there are a lot of guys deserving of the award. Anything that's affiliated with Coach Wooden's name is a big honor and a big deal. Certainly what he's done for college basketball (is tremendous) and to be honored on Friday is something special and I'm anxious to go to California and be there for the event."

Earlier this decade Wooden spoke on the University of Florida campus, giving Donovan the opportunity to sit down with the legendary coach who was 90 years old at the time.

"Well, Dr. (Charles) Young who was (UF) President at the time had a very close relationship with him while he was at UCLA. He actually brought Coach Wooden here to speak on campus and I had a chance to speak with him. Being an older guy it was amazing how sharp he was mentally and just getting a chance to visit with him and spend time with him was great. He's done so much for the game, and he's a guy who has been able to maintain great humility."

Donovan talked about how Wooden categorized himself in a way that most coaches don't.

"I think he's always looked at himself at a teacher and the basketball court was a classroom for him. The true measure of a coach is the way your former players talk about you as a person. He's one of those guys when you hear Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and different players who played for UCLA at the time speak of him, they not only talk about him as a great coach. They also talk about him mentoring (them) and life lessons they learned from him while they were at UCLA."


Donovan is joining an illustrious list of coaches who have won this award.

Legends of Coaching Honorees
2010 Billy Donovan, Florida
2009 Rick Barnes, Texas
2008 Pat Summitt, Tennessee
2007 Gene Keady, Purdue
2006 Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
2005 Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
2004 Mike Montgomery, Stanford
2003 Roy Williams, Kansas
2002 Denny Crum, Louisville
2001 Lute Olson, Arizona
2000 Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
1999 Dean Smith, North Carolina

Donovan now has a 331-139 career record at Florida and an overall mark of 366-159. The Gators just concluded their 12th straight 20-win season. It's the fifth longest such streak in the country, trailing Kansas (21), Duke (14), Gonzaga (13) and Syracuse (13).


Donovan's 331 wins at an SEC school is the fourth highest total in SEC Basketball history. He needs ten wins to move past Harry Rabenhorst (340, LSU) into third place behind Dale Brown (448, LSU) and Adolph Rupp (875, Kentucky).

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