|Magic confirm Van Gundy hiring to replace Donovan|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 June 2007 04:32|
The hiring ends a chaotic two weeks in which Orlando fired Brian Hill, hired Donovan and then had to find another replacement because he got cold feet and returned to the Florida Gators.
Van Gundy coached the Miami Heat for more than two seasons, resigning last year but remaining with the team as an adviser to coach Pat Riley. He also was being courted by the Sacramento Kings.
The Magic did not disclose terms of the agreement, but planned a news conference later in the day.
``Stan enjoyed tremendous success during his tenure with the Heat,'' general manager Otis Smith said in a statement on the Magic's Web site. ``He has a great basketball mind, tremendous respect around the league and will get the most out of our players. Stan was sought after by many teams this summer and we feel very proud to welcome him to the Magic family.''
Van Gundy was under contract with the Heat for another year, and the Magic had to give Miami undisclosed compensation.
Van Gundy did not immediately return a message left at his home Thursday. It was not clear if he was in town; the Kings confirmed Van Gundy was in California on Wednesday for further talks.
Donovan stunned the Magic by changing his mind within a day of his introduction June 1, deciding he couldn't leave the Gators after two straight national championships. Donovan contacted the Magic on Saturday to say he wanted out of his 5-year, $27.5 million deal. The Magic tried all weekend to get him to stay, but finally announced late Wednesday he was let out of the contract.
``I realized that, in my heart, I belonged in college basketball,'' Donovan said in a statement. ``As soon as I realized that, I contacted the Magic immediately to let them know.''
The Magic said they had a ``legal right to hold Billy to the contract he signed,'' but let him go because he changed his mind.
The Magic's Van Gundy announcement came hours before Donovan was to speak at a Gainesville reinstatement.
From the beginning, Van Gundy was Orlando's No. 2 choice. He was also considered by the Charlotte Bobcats and Indiana Pacers, but those teams hired other coaches.
Van Gundy resigned as the Heat's coach 21 games into the 2005-06 season. Riley took over and the Heat went on to win the franchise's first championship. Van Gundy was 112-73 at Miami, and in 2004-05 won the Southeast Division and made the Eastern Conference finals. The team won 59 games that year, second best in team history.
Stan Van Gundy was a Miami assistant eight years before succeeding Riley as head coach in 2003. He coached in college at Wisconsin, Castleton State and Massachusetts-Lowell.
Van Gundy is a brother of Jeff Van Gundy, who was just dismissed as Houston Rockets coach. Donovan and Jeff Van Gundy are close friends because the Florida coach played under him in college at Providence. The two even conferred as Donovan wrestled over the Magic decision.