Billy Donovan: Is Florida Gator Basketball Coach Headed to St. John's?
"They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway," sings George Benson on his hit single "On Broadway."
Just a bit Off Broadway, sits the campus of St. John's University in the Borough of Queens, part of New York City. And with the announcement today that the school is in the market for a new head basketball coach, the lights off the Great White Way are shining a bit more brightly.
The Red Storm, nee The Redmen or just, "The Johnny's" used to be the fer shizzle before the fer shizzle was ever the fer shizzle in New York. Back during the days of former coach, Lou Carnesecca, St. John's could be counted upon to make some sort of headway on the Big Dance's floor.
And even pre-Louie, St. John's had established itself as one of the great college basketball programs in America.
But lately, not so much.
With today's rather surprise announcement that, now former, Head Coach Norm Roberts was fired, speculation is that the St. John's athletic power brokers have had enough and are finally ready to bite the bullet and hire a big gun coach.
That's where Florida's Billy the No-Longer Kid Donovan might come in.
There's growing speculation that Donovan might be ready to come back home to his New York Metro area roots.
A few years ago, Donovan flirted with taking his show to the NBA's Orlando Magic before a late-stage change of heart re-upped him in Gainesville. Prior to that flirtation, rumor had it that he was on Kentucky's long short list too. Although nothing ever came of it, clearly Donovan's stage presence was being sought.
But why St. John's? Just a hunch, but Donovan knows that no matter how many NCAA Championships he brings to Florida (he's got two), he'll always play second fiddle to the school's football program.
While that hasn't ever seemed to be an issue in the past, I get the feeling that it's starting to wear a little on him. That that reality is creeping in a bit more.
Taking the reigns at a place like St. John's would energize a basketball starving and craving New York City fan base dying for something to latch on to.
Over the next few days and weeks, keep your ears to the ground. The steps you hear might be coming from Billy Donovan's walking shoes.