Billy Donovan, 50, was a star guard at Providence, despite being undersized at six-feet in his sneakers. Tenacity and drive supplied the extra he needed to take his Friars to the Final Four, where Providence went in 1997. Donovan liked the Final Four apparently — he kept going back. As head coach of the University of Florida, Donovan led the Gators to two national championships (2006 and 2007). He coached the Gators for 19 seasons, repeatedly turning down invitations to coach in the NBA.
2015-16 will mark Donovan’s NBA debut, as he takes over the talented OKC Thunder from another sub-six-foot overachiever, Scott Brooks. Most nights, former league MVP Kevin Durant and triple-double sensation Russell Westbrook promise to make Donovan’s transition pretty easy. Besides, Donovan will see lots of familiar faces. There are a dozen Gators who played for Donovan scattered throughout the NBA.