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.

Rhule ready to represent the Panthers

Former Baylor head football coach Matt Rhule is ready to represent the Carolina Panthers’ football organization. On Tuesday, the Panthers reached a seven-year agreement with Rhule that is worth $60 million.

Rhule’s Past

Rhule took over Baylor University’s football team in 2016. In 2017, Baylor went 1-11. It was disappointing, to say the least for Baylor fans. In 2017, the Baylor Bears improved to 7-6.

This past season Rhule and the Bears finished the regular season 11-1. Then,they fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Prior to Baylor, Rhule was head coach at Temple University. He led the team to two 10 win seasons in his four years with the Owls.  He also led Temple to its first conference championship since 1967.

Rhule has one season of NFL coaching experience. He served as an assistant with the New York Giants under Tom Coughlin.

Inheriting an NFL team

Matt Rhule makes history becoming the first head coach Carolina has hired straight from the world of college football.

Rhule addressed the Panther Nation with gratitude. He’s ready to take over the program.

“I thank you so much for entrusting me with your prized football franchise. And I can promise you this, I’ll work each day with everything I have.”

Jan 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts after scoring in the third quarter. The Panthers defeated the Buccaneers 31-10 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Rhule is inheriting a Carolina team that finished the 2019 season on an eight game losing streak. He’s also getting a team with potential questions surrounding quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton, 30, is entering the final year of his contract with the Panthers. Newton missed all but two games this past season due to a foot injury. There’s certainly lots of debate on whether the Panthers will keep the 2015 NFL MVP or make a trade.

Rhule became the first head coach hired under owner David Tepper and the franchise’s fifth head coach.

 

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