“The Legend of Billy the Kid” and how he “enraged” Roy Williams

There are discussions being had about the eventual open NC State basketall coaching position on talk radio, in local pubs, and on every NC State message board on the Internet. I don’t have a lot of time to add much commentary, but I thought it would be interesting to look back at how one of the greatest coaches in the game turned a football school with very little basketball tradition into a back-to-back national title winner.

I found this story interesting on many levels:

1)because ultimately NC State may replace Sidney Lowe with a less established, though up and coming mid-major/low major coach like a Brad Stevens, a Gregg Marshall, a Cuonzo Martin, a Chris Mooney or a Scott Drew just like Florida did when they hired Billy Donovan.

2)it is a story of a coach who went head-to-head against the best programs in the country for the top recruits in the nation and won his share of those battles.

3)I had forgotten just how the upset the establishment was over Donovan not accepting his place in the pecking order of college basketball.

The Legend of Billy the Kid(must read whole article)

“The biggest thing that we had to fight, that we had to educate players on, is that this isn’t a ‘basketball school,’ ” Donovan says. “My question to them is, What does that mean? Do we bus to all our games and the football team flies? No. Does the football team have a training table while we eat in the cafeteria? No. Do they get more exposure? Yes. So, why are they on national TV? Because they’re winning and competing for national championships. Well, then, it’s pretty simple, isn’t it?”

Simple? With sneaker companies, the NBA and sports agents clouding the picture, college basketball has never been more confounding for even the most experienced hand, much less for a 33-year-old upstart trying to build a program at Florida, where Steve Spurrier’s rich and cocky football team dominates the landscape. Yet, a decade after he carved out his unlikely place in NCAA lore as a player, few seem more adept at negotiating this strange world than Donovan. Players are lining up to play for him. No coach is hotter. He won only 13 and 14 games in his first two seasons as the Gators’ coach, but last year he beat Kentucky on the road. Most important, in three recruiting seasons Billy the Kid has gone toe-to-toe with powers like Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina over blue-chip recruits and come away with more than his share. All of which has stirred whispers that a legend—or an outlaw—is in the making…

…Before Donovan’s arrival in March 1996, the Gators had landed just three McDonald’s All-Americas in their history. This year’s freshman class boasts two: sharpshooting Teddy Dupay, a 5’10” guard from Cape Coral, Fla., and Mike (Skinny) Miller, a 6’8″ swingman from Mitchell, S.Dak. Dupay, the top scorer in Florida schoolboy history, sent out the first tremor two years ago by committing to Florida in the summer before his junior year of high school. Similarly, Miller’s decision to forgo Lexington and, especially, Lawrence, for sunny Gainesville sent such a shock wave through college basketball that an enraged Kansas coach Roy Williams sicced the NCAA on Florida—and didn’t care who knew it. “I don’t care who Skinny signs with,” said Williams, after his final visit to Miller’s hometown last fall, “I’m turning Florida in.

Never mind that a 10-month NCAA investigation, completed in August, cleared Donovan’s staff of the five allegations made by Kansas. In the murky, rumor-fueled world of recruiting, the mere fact that Williams, a squeaky-clean figure whose public acts and words are usually about as dry as grain dust, openly went after the Gators was tantamount to releasing the Starr report. Even as Donovan rolled through this recruiting season, gathering another far-flung, top five class—with signed letters of intent from St. Albans, W.Va., guard Brett Nelson; Concord, N.H., forward Matt Bonner; Sarasota, Fla., guard Justin Hamilton; and Hargrave Military Academy forward Sylbrin Robinson, who is from Miami—coaches, recruiting gurus and hoop-heads speculated about the secret to his success.

Donovan, however, continues to face criticism. At the SEC Media Day gathering in Birmingham on Nov. 4 South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, once a colleague of Williams’s at North Carolina, coyly questioned Donovan’s integrity by raising the subject of an unnamed SEC coach’s ties to Atlanta-based financial adviser Bret Bearup, who in August had bankrolled a trip to France for a team of high school stars that included Mike Miller, Nelson and Bonner. “It’s all legal, but is it ethical?” Fogler said. The thinly veiled attack—Fogler never mentioned Florida or Donovan by name—so angered Donovan that he retaliated by impugning Fogler’s courage and ethics. “I’m outraged,” Donovan said of Fogler at a press conference later that day. “He talks about ethics. Well, we’ve recruited against him. I challenge his ethics on some of the kids we’ve recruited against [him].”

I wonder if Billy Donovan with another two decades of coaching ahead of him is bored at Florida and would be interested in taking a job 25 miles from Roy Williams?

A guy can dream can’t he?

10-11 Basketball General NCS Basketball

40 Responses to “The Legend of Billy the Kid” and how he “enraged” Roy Williams

  1. Clarksa 03/04/2011 at 2:57 PM #

    Internets logic = Statefans is writing about Donovan…Donovan to NC State! I’ll start spreading rumors…

  2. Clarksa 03/04/2011 at 2:57 PM #

    Oh…and GOOD READ.

  3. Daily Update 03/04/2011 at 2:59 PM #

    ^LOL. Make sure read the whole SI article. Truly a good read.

  4. bradleyb123 03/04/2011 at 3:03 PM #

    This would be a dream come true!

    It’s well known that Roy Williams despises NC State. Well, imagine how much he would despise an NC State basketball team led by Billy Donovan! And imagine how mad he would be the first time Donovan’s NC State team BEATS his Heels!

    We HAVE to pursue that guy. If he doesn’t succeed in Raleigh, at least we’ll have really irritated Roy Williams. And that has to be worth SOMETHING! 🙂

  5. PackisRolling 03/04/2011 at 3:12 PM #

    I sure hope there is something behind this for 2 reasons.

    1, he would be the perfect hire

    2, because if not, SFN is only stirring the pot with the likely outcome being that we state fans make ourselves look foolish.

  6. GAWolf 03/04/2011 at 3:13 PM #

    Careful Clarksa, careful.

  7. Daily Update 03/04/2011 at 3:16 PM #

    This is as much as about what to look for in a mid-major/low-major coach as it is anything else.

    I have read some articles on Scott Drew and he has has pissed off coaches in the same way Donovan did.

  8. Clarksa 03/04/2011 at 3:17 PM #

    Don’t mind me…just starting rumors. 🙂

  9. JSRy2k 03/04/2011 at 3:25 PM #

    It’s just crazy enough…it might work!

    How much heat has Donovan received the last few years for the mediocre seasons (2 NITs, one NCAA 1st-round exit) following his championships?

  10. Pack1998 03/04/2011 at 4:00 PM #

    Donovan is great . . . not betting on him coming to State though, pipeline dreaming is fun.

    The up and comer equivalent to Donovan on the recruting trail right now is Mack at Xavier.

  11. Daily Update 03/04/2011 at 4:01 PM #

    1998: How so (mack to donovan?)?

  12. Master 03/04/2011 at 4:08 PM #

    Very good article. Read it all when you get a good chunk of time – or print it and leave in your bathroom.

  13. MattN 03/04/2011 at 4:38 PM #

    Whished he’d have taken that NBA job a few years ago. Based on the historical success of college coaches going Pro, he’d probably be unemployed right now and the decision would be a no-brainer.

  14. wolfpackdawg 03/04/2011 at 4:43 PM #

    I’d love to have Eddie Munster here in Raleigh.

  15. Wolfy__79 03/04/2011 at 4:44 PM #

    so is scott drew a likely candidate? he looks as if he knows what to do to right a sinking ship!!

  16. wufpup76 03/04/2011 at 4:47 PM #

    Chaple Hole guys turning to their fellow back-scratchers in the NCAA to lead an assault on a coach and program that got a recruit over them???

    NEVER …

    Remember the golden rule of Chapel Hole – it’s ok if WE’RE doing it … if the other guys are doing it then it’s cheating.

    Anyway, it sounds like we need a guy (or gal) with that kind of moxie here in Raleigh. And if it pisses off those sanctimonious Holes then huge BONUS POINTS.

    So tired of the hypocrisy and double standards.

  17. TheAliasTroll 03/04/2011 at 5:28 PM #

    Why do people keep bringing up Brad Stevens. We’re not getting him, he just signed an 11 year contract with Butler.

  18. jbpackfan 03/04/2011 at 5:44 PM #

    ^ I don’t disagree. But anytime someone mentions a name, there is always someone who says we’re not getting him or we can’t get him. Well if every candidate is shot down who the hell can we get? Do people really not understand the NC State job is a good one and State has a lot of options?

  19. RegularExpression 03/04/2011 at 5:58 PM #

    Sounds eerily similar to Scott Drew. He pissed off the established coaches in the Big XII because he apparently doesn’t know that Baylor is supposed to shut up and fulfill its role as the Washington Generals of Texas.

    The difference between Drew and Donovan? I think we could actually land Drew.

  20. packalum44 03/04/2011 at 6:31 PM #

    ^ Buyout is relatively cheap though. That is more important than the length. Is he coming, highly unlikely, but not because of his contract. I’d rather have Jay Wright any day though.

  21. Dogbreath 03/04/2011 at 6:43 PM #

    I’m proud to take credit as being the first to suggest Donovan as a viable candidate on the forums about a month ago

  22. phillypacker 03/04/2011 at 7:28 PM #

    OK, so I read the SI piece beginning to end. Where is it you see something? Can you give me a page number and paragraph?

  23. john of sparta 03/04/2011 at 7:54 PM #

    there’s a first-year coach with a winning record at ECU.

  24. mak4dpak 03/04/2011 at 8:42 PM #

    Again don’t overlook the accomplishments of Randy Bennett of Saint Marys, he has quite an impressive record, with nine of ten seasons with 20 or more wins, and his teams play the fundamentals of offense/defense. Also his team’s are one of the tops in the country in offense. I definitely could get used to that.

  25. rb 03/04/2011 at 9:13 PM #

    so it sounds like the only way we lure away a big name coach from a more sucessful program is with dollar $igns. if that’s true – donavan is already earning $3.5mill, so no pay raise there. what about jay wright and the other guys? are they earning less?

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