Gators lock up Billy Donovan with three-year extension, raise
Florida coach Billy Donovan got a raise even before his team’s record-setting run through the Southeastern Conference.
Donovan signed a three-year contract extension last month that raised his average salary to $3.7 million over the final six years of the deal, which runs through the 2018-19 season.
The extension, agreed to in June, paid Donovan a $250,000 longevity bonus before March 1 and increased his base salary nearly $100,000 a season. With the bonus, Donovan will earn $3.9 million this season. He will make $3.681 million each of the next five years.
The Gators (34-2) have won a school-record 28 consecutive games while making the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year. Both are the longest current streaks in college basketball.
Florida became the first team in SEC history to go 18-0 in the regular season. Donovan’s senior-laden team also won the SEC tournament and earned the NCAA tournament’s overall top seed. The Gators beat Albany and Pittsburgh to advance to the round of 32 in the South Region, where they will face fourth-seeded UCLA on Thursday night in Memphis, Tenn.
Florida’s success this season already has triggered several contract bonuses for Donovan.
Donovan earned $50,000 for winning the SEC regular-season title, $25,000 for winning the SEC tournament and $75,000 for advancing to the Sweet 16. He also gets $50,000 for the top-ranked Gators finishing in the top 10 in the final Associated Press poll and $25,000 for being named the AP’s SEC coach of the year.
Those bring his total to $225,000 — and there could be more.
The NCAA bonus would increase from $75,000 to $100,000 if Florida makes the Final Four, and Donovan could get an additional $150,000 for winning the national championship.
Donovan also would land another $50,000 if he’s named AP national coach of the year.
Despite his 18 years in Gainesville and his recently extended contract, the 48-year-old Donovan refuses to call himself a college "lifer." He said last week that he’s still intrigued by the NBA.
Donovan briefly left the Gators to take the head coaching job with the Orlando Magic in 2007. He changed his mind a few days later, returned to Gainesville and has been there since.
"When you try to project where your future is, where you’re going to be, and you don’t know because I don’t have a crystal ball, all I can say is I am happy here at Florida. I love being here. The NBA part of it, the intrigue part of it for me, is just the fact that it’s basketball 24 hours a day. That’s all you’re dealing with is basketball."
Donovan said it’s difficult to not be around college players for long stretches during the summer, adding that coaches have "a lot of other things" to deal with all the time.
That makes him at least consider coaching at basketball’s top level.
"When you say a lifer, that means to me I’m never, ever going to go anywhere and be there," he said. "Who knows? They may get sick of me at Florida and want me to move on. But I don’t like coming out making bold predictions or statements. I would say I’m extremely happy with my life right now at the University of Florida."