OKC Thunder Coach Billy Donovan Leaving for a Collegiate Coaching Gig?

By Teddy Cecilio, Posted: 03/20/17 05:00AM EDT
Billy Donovan
Coach Billy Donovan of the Oklahoma City Thunder speaks to media after their win over the San Antonio Spurs.(Photo : WWLS The Sports Animal/YouTube)

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan denied rumors that he is planning to return to the college ranks. Donovan said he is very happy in the NBA and is committed to his current organization.

"I am totally happy here," Donovan told the Oklahoman. "I love it here. I love the guys I work with every day. I love our staff, the organization. As far as I'm concerned, my commitment is totally here and doing the best job I can while I'm here."

Donovan's name was mentioned as one of the candidates after Indiana University fired coach Tom Crean after finishing with an 18-16 record. The Hoosiers lost to Georgia Tech in the first round of the NIT.

Donovan expressed disappointment over Crean's dismissal. The two started their college coaching careers as graduate assistants with Donovan at Kentucky and Crean at Michigan State.

Before assuming the Thunder's reins in 2015, Donovan coached 21 seasons in the collegiate level, including 19 at the University of Florida from 1996 to 2015. He won two national championships in 2006 and 2007 before signing a five-year deal with the Thunder. He has a 95-56 record in less than two seasons with the Thunder.

With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way, the Thunder came within one win of advancing to the NBA Finals last season. Despite losing Durant to the Golden State Warriors in the offseason, the Thunder (40-29) are still playoff contenders with Westbrook on the verge of averaging triple-double for the entire season.

Indiana hired the 50-year-old Crean in 2008 after to replace Kelvin Sampson. Crean finished his career at Indiana with a 166-135 mark.

Before coaching Indiana, Crean worked as head coach at Marquette for nine seasons, tallying an overall record of 190-96. He led Marquette to five NCAA tournament appearances and advanced to the Final Four in 2003 behind a stellar performance by Dwyane Wade.



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