Gators Lose Donovan to Magic

Champion hoops team continues disintegration as coach bolts for the pros
By Jesse Andrews,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2007 4:39 AM CDT
Gators Lose Donovan to Magic
Florida coach Billy Donovan gestures in the second half in the men's championship basketball game against Ohio State at the Final Four in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Monday, April 2, 2007. An official in the NBA says Florida coach Billy Donovan has agreed to coach the Orlando Magic. (AP Photo/Mark...   (Associated Press)

Billy Donovan, who led the University of Florida to two straight championships in 11 years, will replace the fired Brian Hill as Orlando's new coach. Donovan was wooed with a five-year, $27.5 million deal, and he will enjoy no front-office responsibilities, traditionally difficult territory for coaches accustomed to the college game.

The loss of Donovan, added to the transition to the NBA of the Gators' talented starting five—many of whom are likely to picked in the first draft—spells the almost-certain end of   the most successful period in UF basketball history.  Donovan, 42, was swayed by the proximity of Orlando to Gainesville. (Read more NBA stories.)

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