The ballad of Billy D

The Southeastern Conference has a commissioner. It has a fancy office complex. It has dozens of employees. It has a cool logo and a reputation for excellence in just about every sport. All it needs now is a theme song.

Based on recent events, a good choice might be the 1966 Lovin' Spoonful ballad "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?"

Billy Donovan just became the latest coach with SEC ties to change jobs, then change his mind in a matter of days. Coming off back-to-back NCAA basketball titles at Florida, he last week signed a $27.5 million, five-year contract with the NBA's Orlando Magic. According to published reports, however, he began regretting the decision within 24 hours after making it. That left Orlando's front office little choice but to void Donovan's contract, enabling him to return to the Gators sometime today.

If you close your eyes and sit very still, you can almost hear John Sebastian crooning these lyrics:

"Did you ever have to make up your mind?

"Pick up on one and leave the other one behind

"It's not often easy, and not often kind

"Did you ever have to make up your mind?"

The fact is, Donovan's waffling is nothing new. He is merely following a time-honored SEC tradition. Consider:

1993: Basketball coach Bobby Cremins of Georgia Tech assumes the reins at South Carolina, only to renege and return to Atlanta two days later.

1995: Football coach Glen Mason of Kansas accepts the top job at Georgia, only to back out and return to the Jayhawks after one week.

1998: Basketball coach Kevin Stallings of Illinois State privately agrees to take over at Tennessee, only to reverse his field the same day.

2007: Basketball coach Dana Altman of Creighton assumes the reins at Arkansas, only to backtrack within 48 hours.

And, lest Tennessee fans forget, the Vols have hired a couple of assistant football coaches who barely stuck around long enough to unpack their suitcases. Secondary coach A.J. Christoff, hired by Johnny Majors in the 1980s, stayed about a week. Linebackers coach Andy McCollum, hired by Phillip Fulmer in 1995, left after spring practice and returned to Baylor.


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