GAINESVILLE -- Former Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan and his wife Christine wanted to say farewell one final time.
The Donovan family took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s The Gainesville Sun, thanking the local community and the “Gator Nation” across the globe.
Donovan accepted a job with the Oklahoma City Thunder a little more than three weeks ago.
Aside from the ad's silly spelling error, it was quintessential Donovan: heartfelt and self-deprecating. It's full text:
“Goodbye” is so difficult, especially after having spent two decades in this community. (And as you’ve seen before, leaving you all has never been easy for us!)
The University of Florida and Gainesville embraced us from the day we arrived so long ago, and we have grown to love not only this local community that has so loved us, but all of the Gator Nation — from Crescent Beach to Cedar Key, from Miami to New York, from Jacksonville to San Francisco, to all over the nation and globe.
We are so grateful to Jeremy Foley, staff and leaders at the University of Florida, along with scores of players and coaches who have become part of our family. And, of course, the Rowdy Reptiles.
We leave with hearts full of love and cherished memories of euphoria and heartbreak -- on and off the court -- shared at every step with our Gator family.
We are excited for all that Mike White brings as he puts his own unique mark on Florida basketball...Fannnnntastic!
And so, rather than “goodbye,” …UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN MAY GOD HOLD YOU IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND.
-- Billy and Christine Donovan
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