Thursday, June 7, 2007
Has everyone effectively caught his/her breath after being slammed with another “whammy” last Friday?
I, for one, didn’t get the news until later in the day when Barry (our publisher) told me about Billy Donovan bolting, utterly suddenly, into the NBA. Not only did he take the outside world by complete surprise, but it appears he caught the entire Gator hierarchy off guard.
Florida’s president, Bernie Machen, who was waffling on a deal of his own in trying to pitch a playoff scheme for the collegiates at their annual conference, stated when contacted by the broadcast media that he was unaware of any goings-on which would have Donovan leaving the ’Gator bin. Actually, the prez referred inquiring minds to his athletic director, Jeremy Foley. Foley’s reaction was an immediate, “I don’t think so.”
Since that crushing drop of the head ’Gator’s shoe, the shock waves have gone far. It would appear that everyone was immediately concerned except the Florida administration. Ultimately, they took the tack it was not a big chore to replace Donovan with a quality person of basically the same ilk. Florida, and the SEC, have gained the nation’s attention the last couple of seasons and the hold seems to be one of some permanence.
A real big question remains for a lot of us: Who knew the Orlando Magic was shopping its coach Brian Hill? In his short tenure, Hill had turned the Magic around and was abruptly let go. How many times have we mentioned that fortunes are fickle in the world of pro sports.
Will Bill have the same success at the Magic Kingdom that he enjoyed while a swampster? History does not indicate that he will. And his salary, albeit a hefty one, still won’t match the paydays of those whom he will be trying to steer toward the ultimate goal.
Many are being very hard on Bill because he stated time and again that he was not leaving the “Swamp.” Was he just kidding us? There is a fable by Aesop which might have some bearing on that: Once a wise man asked of me; “Son, how many pine trees grow in the sea?” And I answered him as I thought good; “As many as there are red herring growing in the wood.”
There has to be some logic in there somewhere. If you find it let me know.
(Editor’s Note: At presstime for our sports section and after the writing of this column, reports indicated Donovan was having second thoughts about accepting the NBA job in Orlando. It was uncertain if he would be released from his contract and be allowed to return to the Gators.)
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