In a breaking story that absolutely, positively couldn't have waited until Monday morning — some of us have work in the morning, you know¹ — former Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan, now of the Orlando Magic, wants to strip the "former" status from his Gators coaching position.
The story broke well past 11 p.m. on Sunday, saying that Donovan might want to wiggle out of his five-year, $27.5 million deal and go back to the basketball powerhouse he built using players that don't make any money. It's not like he was working for peanuts back at UF, though. He had been salaried at about $1.8 million for the next five years — obviously much less than the deal with the Magic, but Donovan was in-your-face close to signing an extension that would have given him $3.5 million to $4 million annually with the university.
I don't think I'm alone when I want Donovan to return to coach at Florida. That's the instinctual thought. He's a college coach by trade, and you hate to see a seemingly good guy get eaten up by the pressures and tempests around every corner at the pro level. I had the same feeling when Mike Krzyzewski (almost spelled that right on the first try for once — I left out a "Z") ultimately decided not to leave his basketball empire at Duke University for the Los Angeles Lakers three years ago. But Coach K never said "yes" to the Lakers. Donovan did, and he has a trickier legal web from which to untangle himself.
The AP cites some precedent, such as Creighton University coach Dana Altman leaving Arkansas two days after accepting the job earlier this year, and Winthrop's Gregg Marshall returning one day after accepting the Charleston job last year. They didn't mention my alma mater Bowling Green accepting basketball coach Dan Dakich back after a week at West Virginia, but let's just go ahead and throw that in there. None of these situations involved NBA teams.