Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Coach Donovan, I Understand Leaving Angst

When I am at work, decisions come easily. Working on deadline at the New Mexico State student newspaper, someone would shout a question. The answers always came easily. The same was true running the sports department at the Las Cruces Sun-News. And to a large extent, it's true in the lab today.

Personal decisions, however, are another matter.

Plenty of people are vilifying University of Florida/Orlando Magic/? coach Billy Donovan because of his waffling on the NBA job.

To quickly catch you up, Donovan turned down powerhouse Kentucky to stay with the Gators earlier in 2007. That alone won Donovan a place in my heart. But less than two months later, the winner of the last two NCAA championships bolted for the NBA and a $5 million+ annual salary.

He seemed excited.

Then it came time to say goodbye. Not so easy.

Donovan changed his mind. He wanted to stay at Florida. However, he actually inked the Magic deal (unlike his Florida contract upgrade). So now Donovan dances for a release.

I've heard some pretty harsh words for Donovan. You won't hear them from me. Such decisions tear me apart.

Just about a year ago, I left Ohio State for Texas Tech (read here). In many ways, this was an easy decision driven by family considerations. However, in many other ways, this was a gut wrenching decision.

My kids had to move schools ... but they'd be closer to their grandparents. There was one Ph.D. student willing to move to Tech, but there was another very talented incoming Ph.D. student staying behind. Here we have the opportunity to build a Ph.D. program, but building is hard work.

It's been about 56 weeks since I was offered the job here. And I'm pretty sure that there has not been a single week go by where I did not wonder -- at least for a moment -- whether I made the correct decision. More often than not, the answer has been "yes." But the vote has been far from unanimous.

And that's not a property of Ohio State or Texas Tech. Instead, it's about the fact that there are many great things about each place. Choosing either place meant leaving a lot of great things on the table. And as I am sure is the case with the Orlando Magic and the Florida Gators, the great things are not the same at each place.

Thus one is left to decide which great things matter the most.

My decision was a difficult one. And I had spent only a year at Ohio State. Although I made some great relationships -- which were very difficult to leave behind -- I had hardly won two national championships with another finals appearance over the past 11 years.

Leaving "home" always should be difficult. It's still easy for me to recall how I felt when my dad and I drove the moving truck out of Las Cruces on the way to Albuquerque in November 1998. Sure, my career was expanding. But I left a lot of good things behind in Las Cruces.

And I have not forgotten those good things almost nine years later.

My guess is that Donovan realized that he never would have forgotten those good things in Gainesville.

And I, for one, get it.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if you had decided the Texas Tech decision was wrong after 2 days, would the state of Texas have banned you for 5 years like the NBA is doing to Billy Donovan?

Dear Dr. Bradley,

Don't mess with Texas.

9:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home