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Wife Drove Billy Donovan’s Decision to Desert Orlando

The St. Petersburg Times has a really interesting chronology and account of Billy Donovan’s decision to leave Orlando and return to Florida. In reading through the article, I can’t help but notice that Donovan’s wife seems to have been a driving force in Donovan’s departure from the Magic. Just take the opening sentences:

Billy Donovan was distraught Saturday morning, and his wife took action. Christine Donovan dialed Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and told him Donovan was having second thoughts about becoming the Magic’s coach.

Later it’s explained that the wife was instrumental in making sure assistant Larry Shyatt was involved:

She turned to assistant coach Larry Shyatt. “Make a U-turn, ” Shyatt recalled her saying as he drove toward a basketball camp. The Donovans needed help.

Donovan’s wife apparently continued to make the telephone rounds, calling Billy’s father next:

By early Saturday afternoon, Bill Donovan had received a call from his daughter-in-law, telling him how distraught his son was. He knew Billy was “very sensitive about how things affect other people.”

I could be off base in my analysis of what I’ve read in the article, but it really seems to me as if Donovan’s wife went out of her way to make sure he returned to Florida. Think about, only days later she was making all sorts of phone calls on his behalf. If she weren’t around making all these phone calls, where would that have put Billy? Isn’t it entirely possible that he would have worked out his misgivings and realized he should honor his commitment to the Magic? I certainly think so.

I’m willing to bet that Billy Donovan would be the present day coach of Orlando if his wife wasn’t next to him pushing all the buttons. I could be entirely wrong, but that’s what I’m gathering based on the article.


Around The Web

  • Jeff

    Think about what you’re saying…his WIFE wanted him to pass up an extra 2 million or so a year…his WIFE…are you married?

  • http://www.larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    ahahaha, that’s a mighty fine point you make there, Jeff

  • http://labrrybrown raj

    good point Jeff! doubt Larry is married!

  • http://cnnsi Ray

    Sounds like Chris Pronger all over again. Although Pronger’s wife had some “other” reasons to dislike her’s (or his) stay in Edmonton, it seems Billy’s wife has her own…her. And I am married.

  • aggie75

    Didn’t we see this same scenario played out on Friday Night Lights? Of course, Coach had a daughter helping her mom reverse the coaching move…ripped from the headlines (in reverse).

  • steve acree

    Doubt it. He explained that HE wasnt happy about it. He said Christine told him to sleep on it. Maybe after that she took over some and made calls.

  • Art Vandelay

    Sounds to me like Christine was doing what any good wife would do when her husband was visibly distraught — she provided support and called his closest confidantes in to help him make sure he was at peace with his decision. I don’t see this as her “calling the shots” and manipulating the situation to force him to change his mind.

  • Mark

    “Billy Donovan was distraught Saturday morning, and his wife took action.”

    You’re trying to imply that his wife didn’t want him to go to Orlando because she preferred Gainesville. It is clear to me that she only stepped in when she realized he was having second thoughts.

    I’ll tell you this though, it sounds to me is that you should be working for the rag that follows major league ballplayers around to see if they can catch them having an affair.

    In other words, you manufacture news…

  • GoCatsGo!!

    Go Cats! Gators suck!!

  • http://larrybrownsports TJD

    Larry Brown commenting about “honoring a commitment to a team” is sports hypocrisy at its highest level. Larry has zero credibility in this department. The way he backed out of his Pistons contract was shameful– holding Bill Davidson and Joe Dumars at gunpoint, and eventually taking off with the ransom.

    Larry, if you didnt want to coach the Pistons any longer, you should have just said “thank you very much for the opportunity, it was a wonderul ride, but I feel I need to move on now. Good luck. Everyone would have respected that.

    Instead you started things in the media — in the middle of a playoff run — by saying “if Joe D will have me back, I will be back…” Where did that come from? If your health was failing, go to Joe D and tell him that. Act like a man. Not a sniveling extortionist.

    And we haven’t even discussed the half-dozen other teams you abandoned in your career, in mid-stream.

    You are a great coach and basketball mind, Larry. Maybe a good husband and father. But you certainly should not comment about honoring a professional commitment. Too bad. You could have been a wonderful example to so many people. People like Billy Donovan, perhaps…

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  • getitright

    Actually Larry is married with 3 kids, 2 of them working for D1 programs, and it was Billys wife who WANTED to go to Orlando and it was Billy’s own reservations and loyalty that kept him in Gainesville… too bad for the rest of the SEC and NCAA.

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