GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Billy Donovan won't have to beg Florida fans for forgiveness if he returns as the Gators men's basketball coach.
Donovan, who bolted Friday for a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic, is trying to renege on the deal.
``I don't see how anyone can be upset with him here,'' said Florida student Chris Andrews, a 21-year-old senior marketing major. ``He went for the money. He realized it was stupid. Now hopefully he'll be back winning championships where he belongs.''
Wednesday brought little change on campus, as Gators awaited developments 100 miles south in Orlando. Florida officials have declined to comment.
The basketball complex was crawling Wednesday with youngsters attending Donovan's basketball camp. The only thing missing was Donovan.
``We love him,'' said Ron Parker, who dropped off his son at the camp. ``He's the reason this is such a big deal.''
Should Donovan return, he likely would earn more than football coach Urban Meyer. Donovan, who led the team to back-to-back national titles, was set to sign a seven-year deal worth about $3.5 million annually before agreeing to coach the Magic. Meyer made $2 million plus incentives last season as he led his team to the national title.
``For all that (Donovan's) done for the school, I think he's earned the right to do what he wants,'' said 19-year-old student Jennifer Gardener. ``I trust he knows what he's doing.''
Still, it might take a few years, or wins, for Donovan to restore his credibility with everyone.
``Don't get me wrong - Donovan is the man - but I was disappointed when he left,'' said Matt Lavender, a 21-year-old Florida student. ``He's going to have to earn his respect back.''
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