NEW YORK -- Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan wants to
sign a contract extension soon to end speculation about his future
and help recruiting.
Donovan, who guided the Gators to a second consecutive NCAA
title this year, said Wednesday he is waiting for the president and
athletic director to finalize his deal. He recently talked with the
Memphis Grizzlies' owner, who is looking for a coach, but Donovan
called the discussion "informal and not about the job."
"I'd like to get it done," Donovan said before receiving the
New York Athletic Club's Winged Foot award along with Tennessee
coach Pat Summitt. "It's not me. People think, 'He's trying to
hold this up.' I would have liked to have done it a couple of days
after [the championship game.]"
The award is presented annually to the national championship coaches.
Donovan, who passed on a chance to coach at Kentucky, met with
Grizzlies' owner Michael Heisley in Florida. "He wanted to get to
know me, and then from there, it never went anywhere," Donovan
Florida topped Ohio State for the NCAA crown, the first team
since Duke in 1991-92 to repeat as champs. He's been at Florida for
11 seasons, and awaits word from president Bernard Machen and
athletic director Jeremy Foley.
"Really, it's in their hands right now," said Donovan, who has
two years remaining on his current contract worth $1.7 million
annually. "I feel good about where I'm at and where they're at."
"They're all top 10 picks in my opinion, just based on the way
they've won," he said. "A year ago there was no expectations.
This year, having to manage the expectations was a little bit
different. It was challenging but also rewarding.
"The fact that they waited a year, they all made themselves
better players, are closer to graduating and prepared themselves to
play at the next level. I'll certainly be back in New York for
Donovan's incoming class includes guard Jai Lucas, the son of
former NBA player and coach John Lucas.
"We're starting over," he said. "This will be a very, very