Coming Soon: Billy Donovan Court

Billy Donovan, 19-year head coach of the Gator Men’s Basketball team, will be honored Saturday night when the University of Florida basketball court gets a new name. The floor of Exatech Arena will be known as “Billy Donovan Court” as of tomorrow night. The dedication will take place when the Gators take on SEC opponent Vanderbilt at 8 p.m.

Donovan’s Deeds at UF

Donovan began his tenure in Gainesville in 1996. He led the Gators to six SEC regular-season Championships, four league tournament titles, 14 NCAA Tournaments appearances and four Final Fours.

AP18151665313263-300x200Not to mention, Florida won back-to-back National Championships under Donovan in 2006 and 2007. This remains the only time in the past 25 years where a men’s basketball team won back-to-back titles. Also, The Gators ranked No. 1 nationally in five different seasons under Donovan.

To say the man was successful at Florida is an understatement.

Over 19 seasons, Donovan racked up a 467-185 record.

In 2015, he took a job in the NBA and became the Oklahoma City Thunder’s heads coach.

How it All Went Down

In early October, UF athletic director Scott Stricklin and his predecessor, Jeremy Foley, took a trip to Oklahoma to tour Oklahoma and Oklahoma State campus facilities, or that’s what they said at least.

They met Donovan and his wife for dinner one evening to “catch up”.

However, that wasn’t exactly the purpose of their trip. Donovan “sensed” something was up.
Stricklin and Foley delivered the exciting news that night in Oklahoma.

After tomorrow, the O’Dome court will forever be attached to Donovan’s name.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.

Gators Look to Improve as SEC Play Begins

Gators Look to Improve as SEC Play Begins

Dan Mullen and the Florida Gator Football team begin SEC play this weekend with a trip to Lexington, Kentucky. Last year the Wildcats broke their 31-game losing streak to Florida in a 27-16 upset. The Gators aren’t dwelling on the past. With wins against Miami and UT Martin the Gators are hoping to keep the winning momentum going. Mullen emphasized the importance of focusing on the little things as his team enters SEC play.

Feleipe Franks

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks is coming off a nearly perfect performance and a 45-0 win. Franks 25 of 27 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Franks does not have the best of history against the Wildcats. Last year he threw an interception, lost a fumble and completed only 17 of 38 passes. In 2017, Franks got pulled from the game and backup Luke Del Rio led the Gators to a comeback win. Franks will be going up against a tough front seven this Saturday.

Kentucky’s defense has not changed much since beating the Gators in Gainesville last year, according to Gators offensive line coach John Hevesy. The Kentucky defense’s biggest loss was first round draft pick Josh Allen.

Overall, Florida quarterback coach Brian Johnson says, “The Gators need to put themselves into a position to play to the best of their abilities.”

Young Offensive Line

Florida’s offensive line is young and hasn’t experienced a truly hostile environment yet this season. The Miami game in Orlando was about 50 50 with fans from both sides. This Saturday will be Florida’s first time in an electric atmosphere with nearly everyone rooting against them at Kroger Field. Offensive line coach Hevesy described the importance of cranking the noise level up at practice as they prepare for Kentucky.

Florida is set to face Kentucky at 7 p.m. this Saturday on ESPN.
For the Gators Saturday’s matchup marks the first of a 9-game stretch with eight SEC opponents. They will have one bye week prior to Georgia.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.