Over the weekend, the Daily News floated the idea of St. John’s hiring Florida coach and native Long Islander Billy Donovan to replace Norm Roberts. What wasn’t explained was why Donovan would want the job: He makes $3.5 million a season in Gainesville, where he’s won two national titles. Now we know for sure: He doesn’t want the job.
We know this because Mike Repole, a wealthy St. John’s alum and co-founder of Vitaminwater maker Glaceau, “represented himself as an advocate for the school and offered the Long Island product a contract in excess of $3 million per year to take the job,” according to the News’ Roger Rubin. Donovan politely declined. Back in reality, the Post reports that the Johnnies will seek permission to talk with Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, and though a source tells the Post that Georgia Tech won’t stand in the way if he wants to leave, his contract was just rolled over last week, and includes substantial buyout clauses. Virginia Tech’s Seth Greenberg remains a possibility, as well.
In other hiring news, Fordham doesn’t appear to be enlisting a deep-pocketed alum to recruit a coach for them (what’s your excuse, Denzel??), but they do have some names on their radar. In addition to the most frequently mentioned candidates — Hofstra’s Tom Pecora and Robert Morris’s Mike Rice, as well as current interim coach Jared Grasso — Fordham’s said to have an interest in Cornell’s Steve Donahue. Athletic director Frank McLaughlin tells the News that they hope to have a new coach in “ten days or two weeks,” which could mean that they’re waiting for Cornell to be eliminated from the NCAA Tournament so they can talk to Donahue before making a decision. Or maybe it just means Fordham has to wait until St. John’s and Seton Hall fill their vacancies before they can fill theirs. It’s probably that.