The analysts will drop some major bombs on him along the way, and he has earned them. This nation hates a waffler, especially one who turns his back on a college that has showered him with love and admiration, not to mention a better salary than the president of the university gets. And Donovan’s reported "conflicted emotions" are going to be the target of ridicule.
At Florida, if the school takes him back, there also should be some trepidation. When Donovan briefly decided to take $27.5 million to coach the Magic for five years, the 42-year-old talked about how he’d always been intrigued by the idea of coaching in the NBA. If you’re Florida, you have to wonder if that intrigue has been quenched or just muffled until the next suitor with a fat wallet comes along.
On the other hand, if you’re an NBA team in the market for a coach, do you really want to woo a guy who showed he’s likely to change his mind before the ink is dry on the contract? If Donovan really is interested in the NBA at some point, he’s got some ‘splainin’ to do to the next prospective employer.
But the criticism will blow over, especially if he continues to recruit and coach at Florida as he has in winning back-to-back NCAA titles. And especially if he stops thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the pro-college divide. When it does, the truth will remain: Donovan is doing the right thing.
Even the change of heart isn’t awful, or unprecedented. If you’re buying a house or even signing up for a new credit card, you usually get a few days to change your mind, even after you’ve signed. With a mortgage, it’s three days, which happens to be how long Donovan took to change his mind about leaving Florida.
I’m not privy to Donovan’s thought process. I don’t know why he decided to leave, but you have to believe that the big pile of money and the cachet of "NBA coach" had a lot to do with it. He said before he has always been intrigued by coaching in the NBA.
And if Donovan returns to Florida, he will be turning his back on a lot of money; college jobs don’t usually pay $5.5 million a year. On the other hand, he’ll still make millions, and how much difference is there if over the next five years you make "only" $15 million instead of $25 million? Most of us can agree that we could scrape by on the lower figure, even with a couple of kids in top colleges. In Donovan’s case, his kids would probably be eligible for free tuition at Florida.
Money really isn’t everything, and you have to think Donovan realized what he was leaving behind. Top on the list is the idea of a legacy.
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
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