Billy Donovan Becomes 2nd-Youngest Division I Coach to Reach 500 WinsMarch 1, 2015
The Florida Gators' 66-49 win over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday helped head coach Billy Donovan hit a major career milestone. At 49 years old, he became the second-youngest coach in Division I history with 500 wins.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Bobby Knight is the youngest:
OnlyGators.com provided Donovan's thoughts after he achieved the impressive feat:
Senior forward Jon Horford also reflected on his head coach's accomplishment, per Kevin Brockway of The Gainesville Sun:
All but 35 of Donovan's 500 career wins have come in Gainesville. He arrived at Florida in 1996 after two successful seasons at Marshall. During his 19 years with the school, Donovan has taken the Gators to four Final Fours. They also won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.
Now, the big question will be whether Donovan can hit 1,000 wins, which would be a monumental feat. Only Mike Krzyzewski has eclipsed the total, with Jim Boeheim a little over 30 wins away. USA Today's Dan Wolken put into perspective the kind of sustained success Donovan will need to have in the future to get there:
Although the Gators have just three 30-win seasons during Donovan's tenure, he's young enough that 1,000 wins is a possibility as long as he stays in college basketball for the rest of his career.
It's sometimes easy to forget just how consistently good Donovan and Florida have been over the years. While they don't routinely top the polls or reach the Final Four like SEC rival Kentucky, the Gators continually post 20-plus wins and reach the NCAA tournament.
This year has been a bit of a disappointment, but Saturday's victory certainly offers Donovan and his players a reason to celebrate.
Note: Stats are courtesy of Sports-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.