Apr 9, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan gestures to hi team against the New York Knicks during the first quarter at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Donovan Expected to Remain With Chicago Bulls

Billy Donovan, former two-time national champion head coach for the Gators and current head coach of the Chicago Bulls, was asked Tuesday about his name being thrown around for the Kentucky head coaching job.

While Donovan didn’t completely shut it down, he implied heavily against it.

Coaching History & Kentucky

Donovan spent his first five years of coaching at Kentucky, from 1989 to 1993. At Kentucky, he worked closely under his former head coach, Rick Pitino, and he was able to work his way from an unpaid graduate assistant to a top assistant coach and lead recruiter.

After Kentucky, he took his first head coach position at Marshall University in 1994, and then he went to Florida in 1996. He stayed at Florida until he took his first coaching job in the NBA in 2015. Then he accepted an offer to coach the Chicago Bulls in September 2020, where he has been ever since.

Because of his history at Kentucky, there has been a lot of speculation that Donovan may be taking the position of head coach at UK, now that John Calipari is leaving for SEC-rival Arkansas.

Donovan says he understands why his name might be getting thrown around, but that he has “not been contacted by anyone over at Kentucky.”

College to the Pros

Donovan says that he liked coaching college teams, but he implies that he does not plan to go back. However, being a part of their program for five years, Donovan does have a lot of respect for Kentucky and understands the magnitude of the program.

For Donovan, college-coaching was a steppingstone for him to get to where he really wanted to be, the NBA.

“I always had a feeling I would like to coach in the NBA,” Donovan said.

Focusing on Chi-Town

Donovan says he recognizes what his team has been through this season. The Bulls started the season off rocky with 14 losses out of 20 games in October and November.

However, Donovan says he is proud of his team and says is sticking with them through their struggles and successes.

He is happy with the Bulls and at this level, so even if he were to be contacted by Kentucky, he wouldn’t accept.

Instead, he wants to stay focused on this group of players and stay committed to closing out the year as best as they can.

At this point, there are three more games this week to focus on, as well as the NBA Play-In tournament next week.

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