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Thunder: Florida basketball to name court after Billy Donovan

The floor at the University of Florida's Exactech Arena will soon be named Billy Donovan Court, the university announced Friday

Donovan's 19 years on the Gator sidelines were the most successful in program history. Donovan led Florida to back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. The Gators qualified for the NCAA Tournament 14 times under Donovan and reached four Final Fours. 

"I was shocked," Donovan said Friday of first hearing the news. "It was a surprise because they flew out here to share that with me. Obviously I spent 19 years and still a lot of the people I worked with are still there. All my kids were basically raised there. The relationship between myself and Jeremy Foley is still really, really close. It was a heckuva thing for them to surprise me with to be honest with you." 

Donovan was hired by Florida in 1996. He compiled a record of 476-186 before he agreed to become the Thunder head coach in April 2015. 

The court's dedication is scheduled for Florida's Feb. 15 home game against Vanderbilt. The date coincides with the NBA All-Star break. 

"What Billy accomplished here no one ever could have anticipated," former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a release. "There's probably a whole generation that thinks Florida basketball has always been on the map. Is that true? The answer to that question is 'no.' Pockets of success, yes, but then he came here and built a program that is recognized as a national brand. He did it with an outstanding group of assistant coaches and an incredible support staff, but at the end of the day, Billy Donovan created something very special here." 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan takes a time out during the NBA preseason game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Zealand Breakers at the Chesapeake Energy , Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan takes a time out during the NBA preseason game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Zealand Breakers at the Chesapeake Energy , Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c20306c0c7d2c4c874cd438efa6012cf.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan takes a time out during the NBA preseason game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Zealand Breakers at the Chesapeake Energy , Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan takes a time out during the NBA preseason game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Zealand Breakers at the Chesapeake Energy , Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan takes a time out during the NBA preseason game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Zealand Breakers at the Chesapeake Energy , Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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