Enquirer news sevrices
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Rick Pitino recommended University of Florida coach Billy Donovan to be his Wildcats successor Tuesday, and Donovan got the endorsement of UK players, as well, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Sources said Pitino advised Kentucky Athletic Director C.M. Newton, to go after the 31-year-old Donovan, whom he coached to stardom at Providence and groomed as an assistant on his UK staff from 1988-94. Pitino has said many times that nobody, player or coach, knows his up-tempo, pressing system better than Donovan.
Later Tuesday, the seven returning Wildcats players reportedly met as a team and by a 5-2 vote favored Donovan as Pitino's replacement.
Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said Tuesday night that he had not been contacted by UK officials regarding permission to speak with Donovan, who went 13-17 in his first season with the Gators.
Donovan refused comment on his situation.
PITINO PARTS WITH UK
GEORGIA'S SMITH CONSIDERED TOP CANDIDATE
PITINO LOOKS FOR A MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Tim Sullivan column
NORTHERN KY. FANS LAMENT LOSS
TOP RECRUIT MAY BYPASS UK
K.C. JONES STEPS ASIDE - GLADLY
ASSOCIATED PRESS COVERAGE ON "THE WIRE"
CELTICS SAY THEY'VE GOT PITINO
PITINO MULLS CELTICS $70M OFFER