Billy Donovan reveals battle with depression after 2nd national championship at Florida

Billy Donovan

“I was depressed. I lost total sight of what it’s all about,” Donovan said.

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan recently revealed he was depressed after leading the University of Florida to its second national championship during his time at the helm of the Gators program.

In a postgame interview, Donovan said an episode of “60 Minutes” with Tom Brady made him realize it’s about more than just a ring.

Before Donovan took over the Thunder, he coached the Gators from 1996 to 2015 and led Florida to back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007.

“I was depressed. I lost total sight of what it’s all about,” Donovan said. “And I don’t mean what it’s all about in terms of what goes into winning, but the fact that it doesn’t change your life one bit, other than someone may write next to your name, ‘national champion coach.’ Outside of that, it does not change your life.

“And then what happens is you get to a place — and the first time it really resonated with me was I saw an interview on ’60 Minutes’ with Tom Brady when I think the Patriots had won three of their five Super Bowls and after the third one he asked himself, ‘Is this what it’s all about?’ Because at the end of the day if it’s all about the ring and the trophy, you lose the most valuable thing, and it’s the group of people and the relationships that are established, of people working together to accomplish something they couldn’t accomplish on their own.”

Donovan was responding to a question regarding comments Michigan State coach Tom Izzo made about needing a second national title in order to validate his career. He led the Spartans to a title in 2000.

“I need to validate it for me, I don’t need to validate it for them,” Izzo said last week before his Final Four matchup. “I have my own goals and dreams and I have my own aspirations of what I want to do. What I want to do is put Michigan State University in rare air.”

Michigan State reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament after a narrow, one-point victory over Duke, but ultimately lost to Texas Tech, 61-51.

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