Georgia on his mind: Florida hoops coach Mike White leaving for Bulldogs

Florida head coach Mike White looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas Southern, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey) (Matt Stamey, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Embattled University of Florida men’s basketball coach Mike White is out and heading to a rival program.

White is leaving the Gators and going to Georgia, a stunning move that takes him from one SEC program to another. The fact that it is Florida’s biggest rival is somewhat of a bitter parting gesture from White to the Gators and a fanbase that never warmed to him.

Florida finished 19-13 this season and just 34-23 over White’s final two seasons. He was 142-88 overall after being hired away from Louisiana Tech to replace Billy Donovan. White led the Gators to four NCAA tournament bids in his seven seasons. He was the SEC Coach of the Year in 2017, his second season in Gainesville. Florida went 27-9 that season and reached the Elite Eight of the tournament.

“Mike White informed me this afternoon that he was accepting another job. It’s been a pleasure having Mike, Kira and the White family with us in Gainesville, and we wish them well. They are a wonderful family who always represented the Gators in a first-class manner,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a release.

“The search for the next Gator men’s basketball coach has already begun, and I look forward to identifying a leader who will embody the UAA’s vision of providing a championship experience with integrity.”

But his tenure that followed was a continuous up-and-down cycle, with big wins followed by head-scratching losses.

The move to Georgia comes in wake of the Bulldogs firing Tom Crean after a disastrous 6-26 season. He was 47-75 in four seasons there.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.