Florida Gators name Jenny Rowland program’s new head gymnastics coach

Making his third major coaching hire this offseason, Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley has tabbed Jenny Rowland as the program’s new gymnastics coach.

Rowland – a former All-American gymnast and member of the U.S. Women’s National Team (1985-90) who was named the 2015 NCAA co-Assistant Coach of the Year – has spent five seasons with Auburn, serving as the program’s associate head coach over the last two campaigns.

“When we started this search, there was one name that kept coming up – Jenny Rowland. What Auburn has done over the past few seasons is quite impressive and she’s played a big role in the Tigers’ progress. We feel confident she’s ready to guide the Gator program,” Foley said.

“She wants Gator gymnasts to thrive in all aspects of their student-athletic career – in the classroom, in the competitive arena and in developing the life skills to be successful following college. She knows what is like to be a competitor on the national, international and collegiate stages. She has what it takes to be a successful recruiter as she’s built relationships with so many in the gymnastics world.”

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Primer on new Florida Gators basketball coach Michael White with answers to your questions

The Florida Gators on Thursday officially announced the hiring of Michael White as the 20th men’s basketball coach in program history.

Watch Live: Introductory press conference — Monday, May 11 at 11 a.m.


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Florida Gators hire Louisiana Tech’s Michael White as men’s basketball coach

Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley has tabbed Michael White of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs as the program’s new basketball coach, signing him to a six-year, $12 million deal to be the replacement for Billy Donovan, who left after 19 seasons with the team to head to the NBA and join the Oklahoma City Thunder.

White, who spent four seasons as an assistant at Jacksonville State (2000-04) and seven at Ole Miss (2004-11) before getting his first head coaching gig with Louisiana Tech, gathered a 101-40 (.716) record with the Bulldogs in four seasons. He led Louisiana Tech to three straight league titles, all of which have resulted in NIT berths as the program fell in the WAC (2013) and Conference USA (2014-15) tournaments.

“I have an incredible amount of respect for the University of Florida, and I am so excited to be a Gator,” White said in a school release. “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. There’s an unbelievable commitment to excellence athletically and academically at UF, and it starts with the leadership of Dr. [Kent] Fuchs and Jeremy Foley. I look forward to returning to the SEC where I have a lot of great memories, and I can’t wait to create many more alongside The Gator Nation.”

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Louisiana Tech’s Michael White primary candidate to replace Billy Donovan with Florida Gators

A source confirmed to OnlyGators.com on Thursday that Louisiana Tech Bulldogs head coach Michael White has emerged as a legitimate candidate to replace Billy Donovan with the Florida Gators. This is at the same time as Yahoo! Sports reported that White is the “leading candidate” to replace Donovan.

According to Yahoo! Sports, White and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley may meet “as soon as” Thursday.

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Silver Lining: Billy Donovan exits Florida Gators as friend, AD Jeremy Foley looks for replacement

There are successful coaches, championship-winning coaches, hall of fame coaches … and then there are transformative coaches that come around once in a generation to shape a program in their image.

After 19 years with the Florida Gators, the efforts made and results produced by now-former head basketball coach Billy Donovan cannot be constrained by even such a broad categorization. Not when they extend well off the court to the athletic program as a whole, the university and even the surrounding community of Gainesville, Florida.

How, then, do you go about replacing a man like Donovan?

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Billy Donovan supports John Pelphrey for Florida Gators job, hopes program doesn’t take step back

Monday’s farewell press conference with now-former Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan featured plenty of recollection over his 19-year career in Gainesville, Florida, but it was also a time to look forward to the future of the program and who might replace arguably the best team sports coach in school history.

As such, Donovan was not bashful in supporting Gators assistant coach John Pelphrey – his former player at Kentucky and long-time assistant (at Marshall, two stints at Florida) – for the role when asked directly about his potential candidacy.

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Who’s next? Archie Miller leads 11 candidates to replace Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan

For the second time in his tenure at the helm of the Florida Gators, athletic director Jeremy Foley will be tasked with hiring a new head basketball coach, this after Billy Donovan left for the NBA after a successful 19-year run with the program.

Under Donovan, the Gators won two national titles and a bevy of league crowns, reaching new heights never thought possible for Florida basketball. Foley will be searching for a coach to help Donovan’s legacy endure and keep the Gators running as a prominent national program.

What characteristics will Foley likely be looking for as he makes this hire? Head coaching experience, for one. Most of UF’s successful hires under Foley have held their respective positions before, albeit at less-prestigious programs. Foley may also be looking for youth in order to replicate the Donovan model and bring on an up-and-coming young talent that can remain with the program for the long haul if all works out.

“Like we have with other recent searches, we will have an internal working group that will identify candidates to be our next head coach,” Foley said. “I don’t intend to put a timeline on our hire, but we will work hard to have the right person in place over the coming weeks.”

Here are 11 coaches who could be leading the Florida basketball program in 2015-16.

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Reports: Oklahoma City Thunder set to sign Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan, announcement soon

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan is preparing to sign a multi-year contract to leave the college ranks for the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder set to name him the replacement for Scott Brooks, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported late Wednesday and Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed Thursday afternoon.

According to Stein, who is citing sources, Donovan will be announced as the Thunder’s new coach on Thursday or Friday and “only an unforeseen collapse at this stage would prevent the sides from finazling a deal after two days of advanced negotiations.”

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