When you know, you know. Apparently Jeremy Foley knew.
Less than a week after saying the search for a new Florida Gators head basketball coach could stretch into June, the University of Florida Athletics Department and athletics director Jeremy Foley announced Michael White as the head man to fill the hole that was left when former coach Billy Donovan took a job in the NBA.
White comes from Louisiana Tech where he spent four years compiling a 101-40 record.
The only thing faster than Foley’s search and hire is the type of tempo White has his teams play, which was a selling point to for the Florida AD, who 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.”
White is a Florida and SEC native. He was born in Dunedin, Florida and then moved with his family “all over the country” according to the UAA, before finding a home in New Orleans, Louisiana and playing high school basketball at Jesuit High School.
When it came time to head to college, White choose to stay in the South East and headed to Oxford, Mississippi where he was a four year point guard starter for Ole Miss and helped lead Ole Miss to consecutive SEC West Division titles in 1997 and 1998, three straight NCAA tournament berths from 1997-99 and the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament win.
He excelled off the court as well as a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and a member of the 1999 SEC Good Works Team.
After being invited to the Utah Jazz’s summer training camp following his college career White spent the 1999-2000 season playing professionally for the IBL’s New Mexico Slam and in England before returning to Ole Miss in the spring of 2000 to complete his B.A. in business.
White then returned to the Sunshine State for four years as an assistant coach and then associate head coach at Jacksonville University.
Making his second stop in Oxford, White came on staff at Ole Miss as an assistant coach for seven years and under two different head coaches.
After several years of proving himself, the 35 year old got his first shot at a head coaching gig when he was hired by Louisiana Tech University to take over the basketball program.
He quickly proved himself, leading the team to i its first Western Athletic Conference Tournament final in program history.
He also led the Bulldogs to 16 wins vs. RPI Top-100 teams, with LA Tech finishing 54th or better in the RPI rankings each of the past four seasons.
During his second season, the Bulldogs posted a program-record 18-game winning streak and appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings for the first time in 28 years.
White and the Bulldogs then proved that they were poised for more. Since joining C-USA in 2013, Louisiana Tech has the league’s best record, both in conference play (28-6; .824) and overall (56-17, .767).
All of this collectively was enough to get the notice of several basketball pundits, including ESPN’s Jay Bilas, who said last season, “White is a superstar and has done a remarkable job at Louisiana Tech. He has this in his blood.”
It literally may be in his blood.
His father, Kevin White, served as athletic director at Notre Dame, Arizona State, Tulane and Maine. Kevin White is currently the AD at Duke. Michael’s younger brother, Danny, played basketball at Towson and Notre Dame, and is now the athletic director at the University of Buffalo. Youngest brother Brian is an associate athletic director at Tulsa.
He is married to the former Kira Zschau, an all-SEC volleyball player at Ole Miss, who also has a law degree from the university. The couple has two daughters, Rylee and Maggie, twin boys, Collin and Keegan, and a son, Dillon.
Now it’s time for White and wife to bring their family to his original home of Florida.
Coming to Gainesville holds a plethora of possibilities for the young coach and the second time head coach is ready to get started.
“I have an incredible amount of respect for the University of Florida, and I am so excited to be a Gator,” White said. “Not only is Florida home for me, but the tradition and success that the Gators have built make this an incredible opportunity.
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.”