Billy Donovan linked to Kentucky Wildcats opening: Is his job with the Chicago Bulls safe?

Kentucky Wildcats, Billy Donovan
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Before he made waves as a multi-time championship head coach, Billy Donovan spent five seasons as an assistant under the great Rick Pitino with the Kentucky Wildcats.

It always seemed destined that the current Chicago Bulls head coach would make his way back to Lexington if there ever was an opening.

Now that John Calipari and the Wildcats have split following a shocking loss to Oakland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Donovan’s name is obviously beink linked to the opening.

According to Matt Jones of Ky Sports Radio, Donovan joins UConn’s Dan Hurley and Baylor’s Scott Drew as initial candidates for the opening. Though, it comes with a caveat.

“Kentucky will contact Danny Hurley, Billy Donovan and Scott Drew. My guess is they will make all three of them say no,” report on Billy Donovan and the Kentucky Wildcats. “Maybe they all do but they will try with all before moving to another group. That group is much more wide open and could include a ton of people.”

This is an indication that Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart plans to cast a wide net in finding a replacement for the legendary Calipari. Donovan’s potential candidacy is complicated, too.

Billy Donovan has turned down overtures from Kentucky, job with Chicago Bulls seemingly safe

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Insider Jeff Goodman reports that Donovan had turned down past overtures from Kentucky numerous times. It seems as if he’s not interested in returning to college ball after leading the Florida Gators to back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007.

The backdrop here is Donovan’s current employment in Chicago. He signed an extension with the Bulls ahead of the 2022-23 season. Other reports conclude that Donovan’s job is safe. He took over as the Bulls’ head coach back in 2020-21 and has led the team to just one playoff appearance during that span.

Chicago has already clinched a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament for a second consecutive season. Depending on how that goes, we could hear Donovan’s name linked to the Kentucky Wildcats’ opening once again.

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