If asked who’s older — South Carolina coach Frank Martin or Florida coach Billy Donovan — you’d probably tab Martin as the elder. But in reality, he’s actually the younger of the two coaches. Donovan is 47 while Martin is 46. The scowl only looks older than the widow’s peak.
Although the two don’t speak too often, they’ve known each other since the late 1980s:
“Obviously, during the season, we don’t all talk as much as we’d like unless I’ve got an issue or he’s got an issue or there’s just a question. But we talk. I met Billy when he was an assistant at Kentucky and he was recruiting Allen Edwards and I was an assistant at Miami Senior (high school).
And then Billy hired Anthony Grant, who was the other assistant at Miami Senior. Billy hired him at Marshall. From that point on, we’ve always gotten to know each other fairly well. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for the number of wins (437), the number of Elite Eights (five), the national championships (two), the player development. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves compared to some other guys.
What he’s built down there is a special, special thing and you’re talking about three national championship games, two national championships, back-to-back Elite Eights the last two years, NCAA Tournament every year since probably 1936 or something like that. It’s absurd. You put his numbers against anybody’s in the country…
Look at his numbers (437 wins) at his age. Kind of do the math. If he’s healthy, he’ll win over 1,000 games. It’s ridiculous.”
Sounds like Donovan should hire his old pal as his press secretary.
The two contemporaries will square off tonight in Gainesville for the first time as SEC rivals. The Gators enter the game ranked #4 in the nation, 16-2 overall with a perfect 6-0 record in conference play, riding an eight-game winning streak. The Gamecocks are 2-4 in league play, 12-7 overall.