Gators hire White to replace Billy D

Published on Thursday, 5/7/15, at 9:10 p.m. Eastern.

The University of Florida has announced the hiring of La. Tech’s Michael White as its next head basketball coach. White has signed a six-year contract worth $12 million.

“I have an incredible amount of respect for the University of Florida, and I am so excited to be a Gator,” White said. “Not only is Florida home for me, but the tradition and success that the Gators have built make this an incredible opportunity. I know about the great home-court advantage in the O’Connell Center, which is a testament to the fans and the Rowdy Reptiles.”

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Florida AD Jeremy Foley didn’t contact any other coaches. Dayton’s Archie Miller was considered by many to be a clear candidate, one who would probably cost about $3 million per year.

Foley has always beat to his own drum, for better (Billy Donovan) or worse (Ron Zook). This hire is typical of his style.

Consider this: In Foley’s last three significant hires, he’s chosen Will Muschamp, Jim McElwain and Michael White, who only had seven combined years of head-coaching experience before arriving in Gainesville.

Once again, Foley has made a risky hire and has gone the cheaper route.

That’s not to imply it won’t work. Donovan had only been a head coach for two seasons and that worked out incredibly well.

White has a stellar reputation and has been destined for a quality job. He turned down overtures from Missouri and Tennessee last year.

Foley had this to say about his new coach: “Michael White is someone who came to the top of our list very quickly and he checks all of the boxes we were looking for. He is a winner who has a high level of integrity, plays an up-tempo style of play and has the respect of his peers and the basketball community. He has experience in coaching, recruiting and playing in the Southeastern Conference and has a strong pedigree. He has a certain authenticity with people and is not afraid of challenges.”

White had a 101-40 record in four years at La. Tech. The Bulldogs made the NIT quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.

White was a solid point guard at Ole Miss during his playing days. He was an assistant on the Rebels’ staff for seven seasons before taking the job in Ruston.

White has plenty of work to do with decisions about his staff and phone calls to four committed recruits. The class consists of four 4-star players and has been ranked as high as ninth in the nation. The first call needs to go to KeVaughn Allen, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas. The Razorbacks would love to poach Allen away from UF.

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