It took 15 seasons with the Florida Gators for head coach Billy Donovan to earn his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships, coaching in three title games and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories.
Coming off his fifth league regular season title (third outright) and a tough loss in the finals of the 2013 SEC Tournament, Donovan learned Tuesday that he has won his second unanimous conference coaching award in the last three seasons as he was chosen as the 2013 SEC Coach of the Year by Associated Press voters.
The Gators (26-7) are ranked No. 12/14 in the latest top 25 polls and have earned a No. 3 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Florida did not capture the SEC Tournament title but is hoping to advantage to at least its third-straight Elite Eight.
UF finished 15-0 at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the season, the second-best home record in school history (18-0 – 2006-07) and fifth time Donovan has led his team to an undefeated record in the O’Dome.
Florida also helped Donovan achieve his 15th-straight 20-win season dating back to 1999. He has the third-longest active streak of 20-win seasons behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (17) and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (16) and fifth-longest all-time.
Donovan is now known as the dean of SEC coaches despite being younger than five of his other 13 peers. In his 17th season with the Gators, he is the longest tenured active head coach in the league and has seen 28 coaches come and go through the SEC while he has remained at Florida.
He also this season became the third coach in SEC history to win 400 games and heads into the 2013 NCAA Tournament with 412 wins, just 36 behind LSU’s Dale Brown (448) and many more back of Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp (875).
Gators senior forward Erik Murphy was chosen for the AP‘s First Team All-SEC. Like Donovan, he received the same honor a week ago from the league’s coaches.
Senior guard Kenny Boynton, redshirt G Mike Rosario, junior center Patric Young and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin all received All-SEC honorable mentions. Boynton, Rosario and young were given Second Team nods by the conference’s coaches while Wilbekin was chosen for the SEC All-Defensive Team.
Photo Credit: Unknown