Donovan misses '87 Final Four reunion

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
12:55
AM ET
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan enjoyed watching his team rout Georgia on Tuesday night, but there was a part of him that wished he were 1,000 miles away.

Donovan would have liked to have been in Providence, R.I., so he could take part in a ceremony honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1987 Providence College basketball team's Final Four berth. The school had a ceremony at halftime of the Friars' Tuesday night game against Louisville, and coach Rick Pitino, who first made a name for himself by taking Providence to the Final Four that was played in Louisville's Freedom Hall.

"It would have been awesome [to be there]," Donovan said after UF's 70-48 victory.

Donovan sent a video message that was played during the halftime ceremony. He was one of three players who were unable to make the trip -- Brian Benham and David Snedeker are the others -- but he still was able to hook up with his former teammates via phone on Monday night and Tuesday.

"I talked to every guy on the team last night for a half hour," Donovan said. "They were just passing the phone around.

"I had a ball."

Donovan said Pitino was able to join the team for dinner on Monday night. He may have wished he had skipped that, though, and put in some more film work. Providence routed 15th-ranked Louisville 90-59.

Donovan said there are plans to organize a reunion in May and he plans to attend.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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