Billy Donovan will not replace Rick Pitino when he retires from coaching basketball at The University of Louisville. Donovan will likely never coach in the college ranks again. Donovan, in his first year as the Oklahoma City Thunder head coach, has taken his team to within 1 game of the NBA finals. If the Thunder can win 1 of the next 3 games against the Warriors, then he will have reached a level of success that will more than likely assure him to always be an NBA coach.
It wasn’t too long ago that rumors were running rampant around the city that Rick Pitino would be stepping down amidst the “scandal” (that he had nothing to do with) in an attempt to lessen the blow from the NCAA. Just as fast as the rumors started, so did the speculation of who would replace the Hall of Fame coach. It is my opinion that Rick Pitino will be the head coach of Louisville for as long as he wants to be. I also believe this is his last coaching job unless he goes to help his son as an assistant like Ralph Willard did for Rick. Regardless of my opinion, when rumors start about his departure from Louisville, fans instantly become future tellers and seem to know who will be his successor. Billy Donovan is usually the first name you hear.
Well, I’m here to tell you that with one more victory in this NBA Playoffs, Billy Donovan will no longer be the heir apparent. I understand why everyone thinks he would be a good fit here at Louisville but he is not leaving the NBA to come back to college. When a successful NBA coach starts on the downside of his career he is usually fired and then a lower level non playoff team will hire him in hopes of rekindling his coaching success that once guided his former team to the NBA Finals. They will throw an absurd amount of money at him and he will not have to go out recruiting. It’s just too attractive to turn down and return back to coaching in the college ranks.
I believe we won’t be talking about the NEXT Louisville head coach for about another seven years or so. So when Rick Pitino rides off into the sunset with his 2 national titles (yes, I believe he wins 2 at UofL before he retires) just remember that Billy Donovan likely won’t be the next coach. Whoever the next coach is, he has some big shoes to fill. It’s not an enviable task to follow TWO Hall of Fame coaches. Good Luck whoever you are but I feel sure your name isn’t William John Donovan, Jr.