Florida Basketball Coaching Hotboard

Mar 14, 2022 | 0 comments


FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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After seven seasons at the helm of the Florida Gators’ men's basketball program, Mike White has moved on by taking the head coaching position at rival Georgia. White finishes his tenure at Florida with a record of 142-88 overall and a 72-52 record in SEC-play.

White’s most glaring issue in his tenure was the lack of postseason success. In seven seasons, White failed to win a single SEC regular-season championship or an SEC Tournament Championship, leading many to question the direction of the program under his leadership.

Early in White’s tenure, however, the future looked bright.


When White took the Gators all the way to the Elite Eight in his second season, it had seemed like former AD Jeremy Foley’s hire was the right decision, and the program was on its way back to the dominance of the mid-2000s and early 2010s.

However, that belief quickly disappeared in the eyes of the Gator Nation.

Since that magical Elite Eight run, White led the Gators to three NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons and would have been to a fourth had the tournament not been canceled due to COVID-19, but the team never made it past the Round of 32.

The lack of tournament success combined with zero conference championships in six seasons created a cause for concern about the direction of the program. Those concerns grew exponentially as the season progressed as Florida finished 19-13 overall and 9-9 in SEC-play.

With a loss to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament, Florida missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2015-2016 season, White’s first season in Gainesville. Florida will now compete in the NIT Tournament when they host Iona.

After the announcement of White now taking the Georgia job, athletics director Scott Stricklin is set to make his third head coaching hire in nearly four months after hiring Billy Napier to coach the football program and promoting Kelly Rae Finley as the women’s head basketball coach.

With a coaching search comes endless rumors, wild speculation, off-the-mark predictions, etc. Here is an early list of potential candidates for the Gators’ head basketball coaching position.

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ANTHONY GRANT

  • Age: 55
  • Current job: Dayton Flyers’ head coach (5th year)
  • Record at Dayton: 100-50 (62-26 Atlantic 10)
  • Overall record (14 years): 293-160

Why he might: Billy Donovan’s former longtime assistant may be itching to return to the school that gave him his only championship ring in 2006. Additionally, Grant has experience as an SEC head coach as he led Alabama for six seasons, but he was not able to have much success. A second chance in the SEC with a program he’s familiar with is certainly compelling for the experienced head coach.

Why he might not: Despite the success Grant has had at smaller schools, Grant’s time at Alabama was filled with NIT appearances as he only made the NCAA Tournament once in six years and was eliminated in the Round of 64. This could hold Florida from offering and lead Stricklin to give a young and unproven coach a chance. Additionally, he is coaching at his alma mater with good success, which may compel him to stay rather than restart at a new program.

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MATT MCMAHON

  • Age: 43
  • Current job: Murray State Racers’ head coach (7th year)
  • Record at Murray State: 153-66 (93-31 OVC)
  • Overall record (seven years): 153-66

Why he might: McMahon is arguably the name that fits Stricklin’s preferences the best as he is a young coach with a successful head coaching tenure at Murray State. In seven seasons, McMahon led the Racers to four OVC regular-season championships and three OVC Tournament championships. Additionally, he is making his third NCAA Tournament appearance in five years, which would have been his fourth if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. A young coach on the rise fits Stricklin’s mold, and a school like Florida with the administrative support will be hard to ignore.

Why he might not: The last time Florida hired a young coach on the rise was Mike White, which did not work out. Additionally, McMahon will be a candidate for other jobs around the country, so he will have plenty of options to choose from. Just because Florida may offer him the job does not guarantee he will accept it.

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JORDAN MINCY

  • Age: 35
  • Current job: Jacksonville Dolphins’ head coach (1st year)
  • Record at Jacksonville: 21-10 (11-5 ASUN)
  • Overall record (one year): 21-10

Why he might: Mincy brings familiarity with the program as he was White’s assistant coach for six seasons. Additionally, he fits Scott Stricklin’s preference for younger coaches who have success at smaller schools as he led Jacksonville to the ASUN Conference final in his first season.

Why he might not: His biggest “why not?” trait is also one of his “why he might” traits: He is a former Mike White assistant. As Stricklin looks for a new captain to the ship, Mincey does not fit the profile of a new guy from the outside who can flip the program, despite his young age and instant success at Jacksonville.

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WES MILLER

  • Age: 39
  • Current job: Cincinnati Bearcats’ head coach (1st year)
  • Record at Cincinnati: 18-15 (7-11 American)
  • Overall record (11 years): 203-150

Why he might: Miller is slowly rising in the coaching ranks and maybe the next small-name coach to make the jump to a big school in the next couple of years. With his age and the jump potential, Stricklin may want to get a head start and take a chance.

Why he might not: To simply put, the record is not phenomenal by any means, even though he’s only coached at a big school for one year. His inexperience at a mid-major level, despite 10 seasons at UNC Greensboro, could keep him out of the race compared to the other names out there.

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NATE OATS

  • Age: 47
  • Current job: Alabama Crimson Tide head coach (3rd year)
  • Record at Alabama: 61-35 (33-21 SEC)
  • Overall record (seven years): 157-78

Why he might: Oats’ success is hard to ignore. In three seasons at Alabama, Oats turned the Tide around with a regular season and Tournament championship in 2021 and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in three seasons. Additionally, Oats took Buffalo to three NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons. Success follows him. In the right situation with the right administrative support behind him, Oats may make the jump across the SEC to Florida

Why he might not: For Oats, why fix what isn’t broken? He has already won an SEC Championship with Alabama and has been to the tournament multiple times. Why restart at a new school when you’re still building a contender at Alabama? Oats’ name will continue to float as a potential candidate for many schools, but rumors do not always equal truth, and Oats may simply be comfortable with where he is now.

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RICK PITINO

  • Age: 69
  • Current job: Iona Gaels’ head coach (2nd year)
  • Record at Iona: 37-13 (23-6 Metro Atlantic)
  • Overall record (34 years): 807-284

Why he might: Pitino as a candidate is a stretch, but his history of success, not only in the SEC but around the country, precedes him. A two-time NCAA Champion (one-time if you take away the win vacated by the NCAA) with seven Final Four appearances (five if you take away the ones vacated by the NCAA). Pitino may want to make the jump back to a major program after four seasons away from the major level. For Florida, fans grew impatient with White’s lack of success and want someone who can bring immediate success. Pitino provides that.

Why he might not: To start, Pitino’s age doesn’t fit Stricklin’s preference for younger coaches. Next, Pitino’s ending at Louisville was not the fairy-tale ending that many thought would happen. Pitino was fired for cause after federal prosecutors investigated the school for a “pay for play” scandal, which vacated two Final Four appearances and a National Championship. The negative baggage he carries could scare off a program looking to win over the fan base.

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BOB RICHEY

  • Age: 38
  • Current job: Furman Paladins’ head coach (5th year)
  • Record at Furman: 111-46 (63-24 Southern)
  • Overall record (five seasons): 111-45

Why he might: A strong winning percentage, a young age, and head coaching experience give Richey a name for Stricklin to keep an eye on even though it is not as pretty as some of the other names.

Why he might not: Despite a 70 percent winning percentage, Richey has yet to make an NCAA Tournament appearance and has only made the NIT once in five seasons. With other candidates with multiple appearances in the postseason and more years of experience, Richey is low on the potential list of candidates.

Tags: Sport

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