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I was ... Delayed.

As I sit here surveying the wreckage from the untimely death of my ancient computer and still configuring my new system to functional levels, I am finally now in a position to resume posting.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  But now, to the news that people might actually care about.

The coaching search for UK appears to have taken a predictable turn.  The Alabama Press-Register is reporting a rumor that Kentucky has already offered Billy Donovan of Florida $4 million a year for coming to UK.

I suppose this is a fitting source for the rumor due to Alabama's famous debacle in hiring Nick Saban as their new football coach a couple of months ago.

The Boston Globe reports their version of the Billy Donovan rumor:

Reports say Kentucky will offer Donovan a million-dollar raise on his current $1.8 million annual salary. With incentives, say the stories, the Kentucky offer could be as much as $3.5 million. Florida officials say they already are working on a raise and contract extension for Donovan. One tale has Donovan's family looking at houses in Lexington, Ky.

It also seems that the press isn't the only ones interested in the Donovan rumors:

All of it has created a media feeding frenzy, which goes beyond the normal hysteria of a Final Four. Everyone has questions. The best may have come from someone who ran into Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich and wanted to know what was going on at Kentucky.

The person asking Bozich? Tubby Smith.

Speaking of Bozich, he has a new column today in which he asks the question that should never be asked to a UK fan:
If Nick Saban is getting $4 million per season to coach the Alabama football team, what is a coach worth who is actually having back-to-back spectacular seasons?

Do you really want an answer to that, Rick?  Nah, didn't think so.

The Herald-Leader reports that Billy Donovan recently referred to Jeremy Foley, athletic director at Florida, in the past tense:

But those looking for proverbial tea leaves to read could ponder the Florida coach's response to a question about his relationship with Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. That close relationship is perceived as a plus for Florida keeping Donovan.

So Donovan's lapse into the past tense meant ... What? Anything?

"The relationship I've had with Jeremy -- have with Jeremy -- over the last 11 years has been terrific and great ... ," Donovan said. "There's just a lot of chemistry on our campus.

Are we having any fun yet?  UK fans, Miss Cleo on line 1 ...

In that same article, the H-L reports this nugget:

Villanova Coach Jay Wright is not interested in the job opening at Kentucky, the Philadelphia Daily News reported on its Web site yesterday.

An unnamed source told reporter Dana Pennett O'Neil that Wright has made it clear that he is very happy at Villanova.

I don't know about this - why would Wright not just come out and say it?  His name has been attached to rumors since Smith left the Wildcats, so why be so coy?

Finally, we have more articles featuring Tubby Smith's tenure at Kentucky as a cautionary tale.  Jim Boeheim, coach of Syracuse, had this comment in a Lexington Herald-Leader article:

"Over the next 20 years at Kentucky, they'll probably have six coaches (or) five coaches," he said. "I wouldn't be shocked at all because they think they're going to win every game and dominate. Nobody's going to do that."

Jim O'Connell felt a little more hyperventilation wouldn't hurt:

"It's unfair to the word 'pressure' to say that job has pressure," said Jim O'Connell, longtime college basketball editor for The Associated Press. "It's not wrong. It's not unfair. It's reality.

Finally, Jeff Ruland, recently dismissed coach of Iona, had this take:
"I was the favorite son," he said with a nod toward how wildly popular a Donovan hire would be in Kentucky. "They'll put you on a cross in a heartbeat."

With all due respect to these guys, they have no idea what it is actually like to be around Kentucky basketball.  Not that their opinions have no validity, they do (at least to the extent of everyone else's), but it is difficult to really understand UK basketball by viewing it from hundreds of miles and hundreds of wins away.

Boeheim has often been critical of Kentucky's fans, and I can understand that.  But Syracuse, as good a basketball program as it is, is not Kentucky, and it will most likely never be among the top 3 or 4 jobs in the nation.  Arguably, it  is barely in the top 10.  

Even with two down years in a row, Kentucky's legendary status is unchanged, except perhaps in the eyes of some extremely negative UK fans.  For proof of that fact, you have to do little more than browse a website or pick up a newspaper.

No matter how much some people think of UK's situation as a potential nightmare, those who want to join the greatest of the great will see it as the ultimate opportunity to ply their craft.  Maybe Billy Donovan isn't one of them - admittedly, this job isn't for just any coach.

But the rewards for success here are potentially even greater than the penalties for failure.  In the right hands, the UK program has the potential to return to the juggernaut it was in the late 1990's, and everybody knows that.  Being the coach of a juggernaut is always a very good thing.

Update [2007-4-1 11:35:24 by Truzenzuzex]: The San Antonio News-Express is reporting that Billy Gillespie has accepted a new contract offer at Texas A&M.

Also, Richie Farmer (remember him?) tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he thinks Billy D. is "open" to coaching Kentucky.