GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The college basketball season is still
a few weeks away. The shots, however, are already flying.
Stanford coach Mike Montgomery and Florida coach Billy Donovan
have smoothed over a nasty flap that came about when Montgomery
made comments that made it sound as though he thinks Donovan cheats
Last week, The Washington Post quoted Montgomery as saying,
"There's one coach we all know who cheats; everyone knows it. A
few years ago, he made the Final Four. His president heard all the
accusations, knew his graduation rate was awful and what did he do?
He gave him a $1.7 million contract. What kind of message is
Montgomery didn't mention Donovan by name. However, the Gators
went to the Final Four in 2000, Donovan just signed a contract
extension worth $1.6 million a year, and on Wednesday, Donovan
acknowledged receiving an apology from the Stanford coach.
"Mike has corresponded to me an apology, of which he said he
didn't say those things. He said he wasn't talking about me.
Obviously, it appeared that way, but to me, it's over and done
with. I accept his apology," Donovan said.
Last week, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley dismissed the
criticism as a matter of coaches being jealous.
"They're jealous of Billy's success, they're jealous that he
outworks them and they're jealous of his salary," Foley said.
Since becoming Florida's coach in 1996, Donovan has routinely
brought in top recruiting classes. The 2000 championship game,
however, remains Florida's only Final Four appearance during
Montgomery isn't the first coach to accuse Donovan of cheating.
When he was coach at Kansas, Roy Williams of North Carolina was
among those who accused Donovan of recruiting violations, figuring
Donovan must have cheated to bring Mike Miller -- one of the best
prep players in the country -- to Florida, which at the time was not
a top program.
No violations were proven.
Donovan said he doesn't hold a grudge against Montgomery, and
said Montgomery told him he felt his statement was taken out of
"His letter of apology to me basically just said, 'You know, I
believe you're doing things the right way, and I'm terribly sorry
at this inconvenience,' " Donovan said. "Mike really feels
terribly bad about what happened, but more than anything else,
Stanford apologizing and Mike apologizing -- I just think for
myself, that's OK with me."