DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — Florida coach Billy Donovan won’t guarantee he will be back next season.
It’s not because he doesn’t want to make that promise.
It’s because he doesn’t want to break it.
Donovan reiterated at the Southeastern Conference’s annual spring meetings Tuesday that he’s committed to the Gators, but left open the possibility of jumping to the NBA.
Donovan said last week he has been in contact with "several" NBA teams about head-coaching jobs. He declined again to say which teams, but reports say the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown interest.
"I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you’re going to be, that’s not good because if for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn’t want (people) saying, `Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record,’" Donovan said. "I just think when you start doing that, that’s a mistake."
Donovan left Florida briefly in 2007, agreeing to become coach of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He changed his mind a few days later, returned to Gainesville and has been there since. He just finished his 18th season at Florida, where he has guided the Gators to two national championships and four Final Four appearances.
He signed a three-year contract extension in February that raised his average salary to $3.7 million over the final six years of the deal, which runs through the 2018-19 season. But he raised eyebrows a month later by saying he’s still intrigued by the NBA. He made similar comments Tuesday.
"All I can say is I love Florida, I’m happy here … the school’s been great to me," he said. "But at the same point, some of the NBA stuff, as I’ve said before, is intriguing in a lot of ways — the basketball part of it. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy here; that’s not the case at all.
"But when people start getting into forecasting where they’re going to be or what they’re going to do, and I’ve seen a lot of coaches over the years come out and say,’ No, no, no, no, I’m not going anywhere, I’m not going anywhere,’ and then all of a sudden they go somewhere and it’s like, `Well, this guy is a complete liar.’ I don’t want to get into that situation. There’s been some teams that have called, but that’s really it."