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Donovan's recruiting success makes perfect sense

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Oct. 27
It's really disturbing to constantly read comments from the coaching fraternity that accuse Florida coach Billy Donovan of illegal activities. A recent John Feinstein column in the Washington Post included comments by Stanford's Mike Montgomery allegedly questioning the conduct of Donovan.

Billy Donovan
Donovan
Montgomery is a man of great integrity. He said that his comments may have been taken out of context, yet he still issued an apology to Donovan. There wouldn't have been a need for an apology if the comments in Feinstein's column didn't have some accuracy. Feinstein has a great reputation, so I don't think he would have used the comments if they weren't accurately portrayed.

There have been many other remarks made about Donovan in the past. It's really hard to believe.

One of the biggest problems facing the coaching fraternity is petty jealousy. During my travels across the country, I have heard so many coaches taking shots at one another and then using the phrase, "off the record."

The bottom line is, why wouldn't a blue-chip athlete want to play for Donovan and the Gators? Let's look realistically at the situation. There's the gorgeous weather in the Sunshine State. There's a Taj Mahal-type facility for practice, second to none (with locker rooms, practice facilities, offices, film rooms, all unbelievable).

Then there's the competition against the best, day in and day out, as a member of the SEC. What athlete wouldn't want that?

Then look at Billy Ball -- the style of run, press and shoot employed by the Gators. It's the same style Donovan learned as a player under his mentor at Providence, Rick Pitino (currently the head coach at Louisville). Remember when the Friars went to the Final Four in 1987 with Donovan as their on-court leader and Pitino as their coach?

Players love being around an upbeat guy like Donovan.

Consider the visibility of Florida's program, being on TV on a regular basis. The school also has an outstanding academic reputation. And the program has been a regular in the top 25 during the Donovan era.

Why wouldn't a blue-chip athlete want to play for Donovan and the Gators?
Ask Pitino about Donovan's work ethic. Billy the Kid eats, drinks and sleeps recruiting. Through the phones, letters and contacts, he works hard and he doesn't break rules. He does things to the maximum, making certain to achieve success.

Unless another coach can prove that cheating is taking place, just be quiet, get in the gym and work. Stop making alibis and excuses. Could it be that Donovan's $1.6 million annual salary has something to do with the jealousy?

I'm glad the Donovan-Montgomery situation has been cleared up. I know it must really hurt Donovan when he works so hard and guys constantly take shots. If there is a consolation for Donovan, it could be this: If he wasn't making the cash and winning, nobody would be taking shots.

Enjoy the sunshine and keep doing what you're doing, Mr. Donovan -- win, work hard and sign blue-chipper after blue-chipper.

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