Monday, June 04, 2007

Does Donovan deserve a second chance?

When Billy Donovan signed a contract to coach the Orlando Magic last Friday, I was skeptical as to the success and length of tenure that he would have in Orlando. By the end of the weekend, my skepticism was fulfilled when information leaked out that Donovan was in talks with the NBA about getting out of the contract.

Halfway through this Monday morning, all of the same Donovan critics posted commentary and criticism all over the internet with the same "I-told-you-so" rhetoric. I'm not denying that I thought that Donovan would have second thoughts, but I certainly don't think that Donovan deserves all of the negative criticism that has been heaped upon him.

In the last year, I have written several scintillating critiques of Gregg Marshall's behavior in backing out on the College of Charleston and abandoning Winthrop for a better contract. However, after looking back on those situations and seeing Donovan's predicament now, I believe that more factors need to be taken into account outside of just the individual coach.

While sports are a business just like any other, with job turnover akin to most industries, I do think that the institutions need to take more responsibility for the luring and firing of their coaches. Expectations of success are so incredibly high right now that personal needs of community, location, and work environment are often suppressed and ignored.

Then, all of a sudden, the media catches a high-profile instance of hastiness to find the right professional situation and we all grill Donovan. Should he have signed the contract if he didn't have a full idea of the repercussions? Probably not. However, I believe that the media probably shed light on and created more repercussions than even Donovan himself could have anticipated.

The more interesting plotline of this whole situation will be the decision of the NBA and the Magic regarding Donovan's request to be released from his contract. If they decide to let him out, that would set an ambivalent precedent within the pro basketball world. Maybe Donovan should have just gone to Kentucky to begin with.

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