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Careers: A Careers Coach for Billy Donovan

Who knew that even a champion coach should hire a careers coach to think these moves through? Just 24 hours after Billy Donovan, famed coach of the two-time national champion University of Florida men’s basketball team, held a press conference to announce that he had signed a $27.5 million contract to coach the Orlando Magic NBA team, a funny thing happened. He changed his mind. You give your word that you will accept a job, but then you change your mind. As they say in basketball, “no harm, no foul,” right?

Who knew that even a champion coach should hire a careers coach to think these moves through? Just 24 hours after Billy Donovan, famed coach of the two-time national champion University of Florida men’s basketball team, held a press conference to announce that he had signed a $27.5 million contract to coach the Orlando Magic NBA team, a funny thing happened. He changed his mind.

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You give your word that you will accept a job, but then you change your mind. As they say in basketball, “no harm, no foul,” right?

Just 24 hours after Billy Donovan, famed coach of the two-time national champion University of Florida men’s basketball team, held a press conference to announce that he had signed a $27.5 million contract to coach the Orlando Magic NBA team, a funny thing happened. He changed his mind.

According to various accounts, Donovan, 42, informed the Magic on Saturday that he had “a change of heart.” This reconsideration has not gone over well with Magic fans or team ownership.

Or the local media: The Orlando Sentinel quips that “Billy the Kid has become Billy the Kidding.”

Who knew that even a champion coach should hire a careers coach to think these moves through? Instead, Donovan’s hiring a lawyer in case the NBA team comes after him. Fortunately for him, UF apparently wants him back and fan sympathies that are now with the Magic may turn against them if there is retribution against the coach.

“The basic rule in America is if you sign what is called a personal service or employment contract, even if you breach it, the court won’t make you work for the party you signed the contract with,” says Frank Snyder, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, in another Sentinel story. “There’s no way if Donovan wants to get out of the deal that he can be compelled to work for the Magic.”

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To try to enforce the contract or extract blood from Donovan, the Magic will need to prove that they have been damaged by this ordeal, adds Snyder. There is some speculation that the team could try to bar Donovan from coaching in the NBA until the five-year-term of his soon-to-be-voided deal is up. But common sense suggests that the wiser course of action will be for the Magic to put this experience behind them.

Yet from Donovan’s perspective possibly there were no bad career choices here – the money and fame were good either way. A good careers coach might have helped Donovan to manage his off-court moves just as artfully as he does during a game.

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • rusty@myglobalcareer.com • http://www.myglobalcareer.com

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