Donavan returns to Florida

June 7, 2007 at 1:05 PM
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GAINESVILLE, Fla., June 7 (UPI) -- Basketball coach Billy Donovan has returned to the University of Florida, about a week after he left the school to coach the NBA's Orlando Magic.

Soon after Donovan agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with the NBA team, he was reported to have second thoughts about leaving the college ranks. Magic officials released him from the deal on Wednesday. Thursday he was back in Gainesville, Fla.

"The last four or five days certainly have been difficult," Donovan said at a news conference at the university. "I want to take this time to apologize, first and foremost to the Orlando Magic for what's happened. I feel terrible about it, very sorry about it."

He said he was also sorry about what he put university officials and his family through for what he termed was "my mistake."

Donovan said: "I have to take responsibility for that, which I'm trying to do. When I made the decision, the next morning it just did not feel right for me."

Donovan is returning to the team he led to consecutive NCAA tournament titles the last two seasons. He also took the Gators to the title game in 2000. In 11 seasons at Florida, he's built a 261-103 record.

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