The search to replace departed assistant coach Dusty May has been completed as Mike White has hired Armon Gates, previously an assistant at Northwestern. Known to be an excellent recruiter, he was pivotal in bringing in the elite 2014 class of Bryant McIntosh, Scott Lindsey, Gavin Skelly, Johnnie Vassar, and most notably top-100 ranked Vic Law that saw the Wildcats rise from the bottom of the Big Ten to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to his time with Northwestern, Gates spent time coaching at Loyola-Chicago (under Porter Moser, now a star after the NCAA Tournament), TCU, and Kent State, as well as being a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky.
An obvious connection to the current Gators staff goes back to Gates’ playing days where he ran alongside Florida assistant Jordan Mincy for the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons with the Kent State Golden Flashes under coach Jim Christian. As a player, Gates was known to be a high IQ player with a team first attitude, and his 200 career made threes shows his knowledge of the long ball.
Gates’ hire confirms Florida’s dedication to recruiting the Northeastern and Midwestern states, a sentiment evidenced by their current targets in the region. Despite his years of coaching in Chicago, don’t think he doesn’t have connections in Florida, however, as his brother Dennis is a longtime assistant of Leonard Hamilton at Florida State and after helping Armon with contacts, they’ll now see each other battling for in-state recruits. Bringing in talent is crucial in college basketball and Gates will be expected to be a major contributor in this area.
Tactically, Gates is known to be a great developer of talent and was tasked with leading the guards at both Northwestern and TCU. Not only concerned with points and assists, he is known to develop the less-appreciated guard skills such as defensively rebounding and moving and screening away from the ball. His teams have always played connected defensively and have had clear defensive assignments and that knowledge will fit seamlessly into Mike White’s vision.
Gates is a coach that is a similar age to the rest of the staff, brings a new base of recruiting contacts, and will bring a fresh look to the strategic element of coaching with his experience in the Big 10 (look for him to have some insight into Florida’s game with Michigan State next season!). Considered one of the quickest rising assistant coaches in college basketball, he has had multiple desirable offers and his decision to come to Florida shows he is really passionate and excited about the job. He is a great addition to the staff, and on behalf of Gator Country and Gators fans everywhere we say welcome to Gainesville, Armon!