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Indiana coaching search: Billy Donovan would bring college and pro success to Bloomington, if he wants the job

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Could the former Florida Man be the Hoosiers’ savior?

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A name to keep an eye on during the Indiana coaching carousel will be Billy Donovan.

Donovan, played four years of college ball at Providence. After three years of trying to break into the NBA, Donovan began coaching. He spent five years as an assistant coach at Kentucky under Rick Pitino. During his time at Kentucky, they made one final four in 1993.

Donovan landed his first head coaching role at Marshall University in 1994. He installed the fast-pace offense that he learned at Kentucky. In two years at Marshall, he coached the Thundering Herd to two winning seasons and was selected as Conference Coach of the Year in 1995.

The following year, Donovan was hired by Florida to be the head coach. After Lon Kruger left the Gators, Florida AD Jeremy Foley felt as if it was best to bring in a “young, energetic, and enthusiastic” coach to bring the program to the top of the college basketball world. After a few years to get adjusted, Donovan’s Gators took off.

Billy Donovan took the Gators to the final four in 2000, but lost to Michigan State in the championship game. He would then lead the Gators to back to back National Championships in 2006 and 2007. He would not return to the final four until 2014, losing to the Shabazz Napier led UConn Huskies in the national semi-finals.

Donovan developed multiple NBA talents during his time at Florida. This includes but is not limited to: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, and Chandler Parsons. Donovan won six regular season SEC titles, four SEC tournament championships, and was named the SEC Coach of the year three times (2011, 2013, 2014).

After the 2014 season, Billy Donovan transitioned the NBA to be Oklahoma City Thunder’s head coach. In Donovan’s first year with the Thunder, the team made the conference finals, but blew a 3-1 lead to the Warriors. It has been downhill ever since in Oklahoma following Kevin Durant’s departure. Currently, the Thunder are 6th seed in the western conference playoff picture.

With the Thunder on the decline, it would not be surprising if Donovan was unhappy in OKC. Donovan had great success in college, and he may be open to a returning if the right opportunity presented itself. Would Indiana give him the resources to get back to the top of the college basketball world? Donovan is struggling to control his team in the NBA, but could thrive in college.