Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Magic officially release Donovan

Coach to return to Florida; news conference this morning

June 7, 2007

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— Billy Donovan is out in Orlando, and his cold feet could cost both him and the Magic.

The Magic finally let Donovan out of a $5.5 million annual deal late Wednesday night after news broke days ago he was having second thoughts. Donovan may have stained a good reputation built on two straight championships at Florida.

"I realized in less than 24 hours after signing a contract with the Magic that I had made a mistake that had nothing to do with the Magic," Donovan said in a statement Wednesday night. "Instead, I realized that, in my heart, I belonged in college basketball. As soon as I realized that, I contacted the Magic immediately to let them know."

Donovan walked out of his first NBA job after just six days to return to Gainesville, where he won the last two national titles.

"Although this has been a difficult time for everyone, for which I am profoundly sorry, in my heart I know that this is the right thing for the Magic and for me," Donovan said.

The Magic-Donovan romance was a carousel act that stunned fans twice - with his Thursday hiring, then an out-of-nowhere weekend reversal.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, reached late Wednesday by the Associated Press, said: "It's great news for the Gators."

Foley withheld further comment until a news conference this mornin

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