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

By Adam Silverstein
May 7, 2015

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.”

White, the son of Duke AD Kevin White, turned down Tennessee and Missouri for their coaching jobs one year ago and was believed to be a candidate for the Alabama position that went to Avery Johnson.

A Florida native who played for Ole Miss and led the Rebels to two SEC West division titles and three NCAA Tournament berths, he has stood at the helm of Louisiana Tech during a lengthy home winning streak that dates back to Dec. 2013 – the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.

White, 38, is considered one of the brightest young coaches in college basketball and a strong recruiter in the South. As such, after interest last offseason from other programs, the Bulldogs signed him to a six-year, $3.6 million contract extension.

“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,” Foley said. “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.”

Not yet tested as a head coach at the major-conference level, White – like Donovan when he was hired by Foley – has never participated in the NCAA Tournament in that role, though he did take Louisiana Tech to the NIT Quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons.

“We are so appreciative of Mike White and the incredible job he has done with our men’s basketball program during the past four years in Ruston,” Louisiana Tech AD Tommy McClelland said. “He represented Louisiana Tech University in a first class manner both on and off the court and for that we will forever be grateful.

“Mike and his family will always have a special place in the hearts of Bulldog fans. We wish him the best of luck at Florida. We will immediately begin a national search for his replacement. We will do our due diligence in finding the next head coach at Louisiana Tech.”

Foley, as it turns out, beat out Kevin White – then Notre Dame’s athletic director – for the services of head football coach Urban Meyer back in 2005. He has now hired White’s son as his head basketball coach.

White will be introduced as the Gators’ new head coach on Monday.

Here’s White’s press conference ahead of LA Tech’s 2014-15 season:


  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    Driskel for White? I’ll take it! 🙂

    • Dave Massey says:

      Good one. Unfair trade….for them!!!

    • Gatoralum88 says:

      I like the hire. Sure, fans will point to “no NCAA tournaments” but, upon further investigation, CUSA was a 1 bid league each of the last two years & his team lost to eventual CUSA tourney champs both years. This past season, they lost (in OT) to UAB which went on to blow up everyone’s NCAA bracket by beating Iowa St. in the 1st-round.

      He coaches a pressing style similar to what Billy did when he had the right personnel. His PG last season broke the school assist record so hopefully he’ll be good for Hill & Chiozza &, perhaps more importantly, he can convince Allen to stay. With the Gators current roster, I assume he’ll be working with better players than he ever has before so I’m excited to see what he can do with them. If he maintains his average (25-10) he won’t have to worry about not getting an NCAA bid. Go Gators!

      • Timmy T says:

        I’m with ya. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about college hoops, but I must admit I have never heard of him until today. That said, I like the resume’ an awfull lot and Adam’s take on the ability to recruit sounds good. I’m all in, too. Go Gators!!!

    • Michael Jones says:

      Bahaha!! How hilarious!! I love that we never miss an opportunity to kick Driskel when he’s down. Even when the article is about a completely different sport. So classy of us!!! HA HA HA HA HA . . . WE ARE SO CLEVER!!!!

      After all, he deserves it, right? A 22 year old kid who played QB for us and didn’t do as well as we experts think he should have done under the brilliant coaching of Will Muschamp? Wouldn’t it be funny as heck if we ruined his life by making him the butt of our jokes into perpetuity? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

      Please continue to make these brilliant jokes that you have put so much thought into!! 🙂 Only a genius could have come up with something that creative. . . it wasn’t obvious at all, I promise.

    • Michael Jones says:

      If this was Facebook they’d call you cyberbullies.

      • Gatoralum88 says:

        “Lighten up Francis”. Yes, Michael, we know. You’re a fan of Driskel…but must you ALWAYS be so overly sensitive & rush to his defense with the same ad nauseam posts anytime anyone pokes fun at him? Perhaps you never heard the old “sticks & stones” rhyme as a child? BTW, it’s true! I doubt any jokes will ruin Driskel’s life nor do I feel it amounts to “cyber bulling”. His former roommate (Jake McGee) made a similar joke about it on Twitter. I doubt it bothers Driskel or that he cares. If he does he has a bigger problem than his inability to succeed as an SEC QB (& spare me the 2012 blah, blah, blah.)

        Face it, Michael, Driskel is what he is…a former 5* recruit who didn’t live up to his HS hype. He’s not the first & won’t be the last. It happens…& Muschump wasn’t entirely to blame. A 4th year QB who loses his job to a true freshman deserves some of it to. When you consider all the great offenses under Spurrier & Meyer never had 6 offensive players taken in one NFL draft & this year’s did?…it just reinforces what we already knew & already (painfully) saw…that Driskel was a big part of the problem. So, I’m OK with him moving on. I’m sure CUSA will be more his speed & I wish him well at La. Tech.

        Also, in case you’re not familiar with my opening quote it’s from an old classic Bill Murray movie called “Stripes” when a character nicknamed Psycho says “My name is Francis but everyone calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis & I’ll kill ya’.”…to which the inimitable Sergeant Hulka responds with the now fairly well known quote…:) Go Gators!

  2. SaraGator says:

    Welcome, Coach White!

  3. Dave Massey says:

    Welcome Coach White, hope you have a long run same as your predecessor.

  4. gatorboi352 says:

    Gator fans are just going to have to adjust expectations. This isn’t the 90s or 2000s any more. New unproven coaches at the helm of their top 2 sports. Go Gators, but we’re in for a rough few years.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Maybe, maybe not. Nothing can be as bad as DumpChump. He brought the program to lows it hasn’t seen in 50 years. I wouldn’t characterize McElwain as ‘unproven’ either. White might have the easier time because you simply don’t need as many bodies and there is still plenty of talent there.
      Everything in football is going to depend on the O line. If they can avoid injuries there and the freshmen play OK then things could get interesting. The defense will be very stout even without Fowler.

    • Michael Jones says:

      We were already in the middle of a rough few years. You act like we just won national championships in basketball and football.

  5. gatorboi says:

    I still feel he is untested in a big boys league. If he succeeds, he’ll leave us for Duke.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      why? You really think that one of the very early questions Foley asked was something along those lines? Duke will most likely promote a long term assistant when Coach K decides he has had enough, they likely won’t bring in someone new, just because they are family. That is pretty silly.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Under that theory nobody ever gets a first chance or a first job. We just continuously recycle the retreads. At one point John Wooden had never been tested in a “big boys” league (not sure SEC basketball qualifies as one but I’ll play along).

      But, again, I understand that the sky is always falling, chicken little. We must always make lemons out of lemonade. I get it.

  6. Timmy T says:

    Welcome Coach White.

  7. Ken (CA) says:

    Not disappointed in this hire, but wondering what happened with Chris Mack

  8. KarVer says:

    Welcome aboard to the gator program Coach White…

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