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Dec 21, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; A general view of fans entering the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center prior to the game between the Florida Gators and Arkansas Little Rock Trojans. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Coming Soon: Billy Donovan Court

Billy Donovan, 19-year head coach of the Gator Men’s Basketball team, will be honored Saturday night when the University of Florida basketball court gets a new name. The floor of Exatech Arena will be known as “Billy Donovan Court” as of tomorrow night. The dedication will take place when the Gators take on SEC opponent Vanderbilt at 8 p.m.

Donovan’s Deeds at UF

Donovan began his tenure in Gainesville in 1996. He led the Gators to six SEC regular-season Championships, four league tournament titles, 14 NCAA Tournaments appearances and four Final Fours.

Not to mention, Florida won back-to-back National Championships under Donovan in 2006 and 2007. This remains the only time in the past 25 years where a men’s basketball team won back-to-back titles. Also, the Gators ranked No. 1 nationally in five different seasons under Donovan.

FILE – In this April 28, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan speaks to reporters in Oklahoma City. With his baseball program mired in its worst slump in five years, Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan wanted a different voice to talk to his players. Thumbing through his phone, one name stood out: Former Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan.(Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP, File)

To say the man was successful at Florida is an understatement.

Over 19 seasons, Donovan racked up a 467-185 record.

In 2015, he took a job in the NBA and became the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

How it All Went Down

In early October, UF athletic director Scott Stricklin and his predecessor, Jeremy Foley, took a trip to Oklahoma to tour Oklahoma and Oklahoma State campus facilities, or that’s what they said at least. They met Donovan and his wife for dinner one evening to “catch up”. However, that wasn’t exactly the purpose of their trip.

Donovan “sensed” something was up.

Stricklin and Foley delivered the exciting news that night in Oklahoma.

After tomorrow, the O’Dome court will forever be attached to Donovan’s name. 

About Maddie Schmidt

Maddie Schmidt's goal is to become a college football reporter. Be sure to check out her sports blog, mygamedaygal.com.

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