One day I may be lying in a street alley somewhere, having been hit in the head by robbers, my wallet taken and the sense blatantly knocked out of me. When a stranger comes to check on me and kneels down below, he will likely hear the words muttering out of my mouth, “Donovan, Patterson and Lucas.” These three names have been uttered by UK fans more in the last year than should be humanly allowed and after the last week of speculation about the coaching search, I am not sure that I wouldnt mind going all “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” on all three. But everytime I think this, I remember the prize….mainly that getting Donovan to Kentucky could be one of the all time great coaching coups. And if that happens, for UK fans it will be all worth it. There were a lot of rumors, innuendo and gossip today, so lets break everything down and see where we are…..
UPDATE Wkyt now reports that permission has been asked and granted to talk to Billy Donovan…..well finally
(1) Billy Donovan spoke at a We Are Marshall banquet tonight and in preparation, was forced to be put thru a pre-scheduled press conference. Seeing blood, the Kentucky media hit Huntington in droves hoping to get the scoop. All the big stars were there, your Tiptons, your Rob Bromleys…..and the assorted groupies that follow them. But Donovan sort of rained on everyone’s parade by saying at the beginning that he would only talk about Marshall. Of course that didnt end up happening, as no one cared about Marshall and Billy gave some quotes that are important….
“I have great feelings for Kentucky because of Coach (Rick) Pitino bringing me there, having a chance to work there for five years, seeing the tradition, seeing the passion, seeing the fanfare,” Donovan said. “If there was ever a situation that I was contacted by them, that would be something I would have to think about.”
“I know I’m getting asked a lot of questions, and I think eventually I’m going to have to give some answers for everybody to do their job and do what they need to do,” Donovan said. “I have to come out and do something.”
“I think people want answers, and I’m not at a point to give any answers, and as frustrating as that may be to some people, that’s just the truth right now,” Donovan said. “When I’m ready to do that, I’ll do that. But I’m not going to make any statements without even talking to Jeremy Foley.”
Now if you are reading these quotes by themselves, you have to think things look good for the Cats with Donovan….he openly says he will consider the job if called (and he has admitted that it “may be” the case that his agent has been called)…..he says that he will have to make a “decision” soon and that he wont do it without talking to Foley. Now I agree with Gregg Doyel on my show who said that it is sort of disingenuous to say you havent been called but then talk about making a “decision.” Well what is the decision if you havent been called? But this is all semantics, we know what is at stake. But regardless of which side you take on this, these quotes are the most revealing yet from the man in the center of the storm.
(2) Now onto the so-called “sources.” Today was my first conversation with someone close to the program where it was said to me that the deal wouldnt happen. And I went with that view for a few hours, even repeating it on the radio. But after doing this, multiple people called me and told me to hold off…..everything was still where it was before. So I dont know what to believe. Prior to today, everyone had the same story….offer on the table, agent says Donovan is interested, waiting on a decision. Now I have a person telling me the answer is no, and one saying the answer will end up being yes, with others saying who knows. The lesson…..there is no one but Donovan that knows for sure…..and this is STILL THE CASE, no matter what anyone tells you otherwise. But I feel better….lets just say that
(3) Along those lines, I find the radio report in Nashville bogus, just as I did when it was reported Patterson was going to Florida. Too many people are following this WAY too closely that a random radio host in Nashville would get the scoop…..what is much more likely is that the Nashville radio host heard the rumor that all the Kentucky media have now heard ad nauseum (from the same two sources) that was sent around last week…..they are just late to the game and giving the same report. I dont think they have any real insight.
(4) People keep asking me when we will hear something…..bottom line, I am not sure. The next big event is the celebration in Gainesville on Friday…..get through that without Donovan announcing he is staying and I think he is a Wildcat and the decision comes on the weekend. But I do take the man at his word that he hasnt decided for sure….but I dont believe that UK can wait into next week. Easter weekend seems to be the time…..one way or the other.
(5) Now for some disturbing news….Tubby Smith at Minnesota is going to hire Jimmy Williams, an assistant at Oklahoma State, to be his recruiting coordinator. I find this VERY disappointing. Williams is one of the best recruiters in the nation and if he had been hired at UK, he would have instantly fixed what was Tubby’s biggest weakness. To hire him at UM, and not here…..well that disappoints me. However it also tells me that stories of Tubby leaving because he refused to change his staff were simply false. Now Jai Lucas has told a Houston newspaper that he may visit Minnesota……Williams was the main player in his OSU recruitment. Will Jai end up in Gopher land….you have to think not…..but who knows at this point?
I still dont know of a press conference date…..we will continue to report what we hear when we hear it….in the meantime, scroll down and listen to an hour of our radio show from yesterday….we hope to have an hour available every day beginning soon….this is a taste and has the always happy Gregg Doyel.
We are live from the Bats opening day tomorrow…..come bring me a coat. And if you are a wrestling fan, watch this video of botched moves…..GREAT!