The Florida Gators have a new assistant coach in town to replace former assistant Dusty May. Literally, he just landed in Gainesville at midnight on Wednesday.
Armon Gates comes to Florida after spending the last five seasons at Northwestern and the two seasons before that helping build what would ultimately become a Final Four Loyola-Chicago team this year.
Gates has been on head coach Mike White’s radar for several years now, after first coming into contact with him through Jordan Mincy, one of Florida’s other assistants. Mincy and Gates were teammates at Kent State and have kept a close connection throughout the years.
White considered several contenders for the position, but Gates kept coming back to the top of his list, so he pulled the trigger. He said on Wednesday that he believed this will be a great cultural fit for his program.
That goes both ways. Gates admires the culture White and his staff have built in their time at Florida.
He said he would have taken the opportunity to work under White even if he had been in Alaska and not the Sunshine State.
“The tradition of the University of Florida was enticing to me, a situation I couldn’t pass up,” Gates said. “And also working with an amazing staff where it’s all about “we”. Everything is about “we”, there’s no competition, it’s just a common goal and that’s just to win a national championship.”
Gates was thrown straight into the fire of his new job quickly as he barely got a few hours of sleep before going into his first staff meeting.
He’s trying to take a back seat to his fellow coaches right now until he gets settled in, but he knows exactly what he wants to add for the Gators.
He’s known as the Energizer Bunny, and it was easy to tell why after only listening to him speak for 10 minutes. That kind of energy may be just what Florida needs.
“I wanna bring just energy, passion,” he said. “And you know, I was known as a shooter, so I wanna work with those wings. I’ll work with the bigs, too. Help them step out, create a ton of mismatches for us … That’s what I’m looking to bring to this program.”
With the addition of Gates, there will be a rivalry inside of a rivalry when Florida plays Florida State. His older brother, Dennis Gates, has been a part of the Seminoles’ staff for seven seasons.
The brothers will be seeing a whole lot more of each other now in both recruiting circles and on the floor.
Things may get a little heated at family Christmas.
“I heard he put out a funny tweet for me saying ‘this is the first and last time I cheer for the Gators.’ And the Gates household is officially divided,” he said. “It was a funny tweet. I just haven’t had a chance, opportunity to touch base, or to retweet it or quote that tweet. But trust me, stay tuned, it’s coming … It’s a great dynamic. A lot of people text me saying ‘looking forward to watching the next Gates Bowl.’ They call it the Gates Bowl.”
All jokes aside, Gates seems to be fitting in nicely at Florida. White has a great track record in hiring assistant coaches, and he hopes this will be another one to add to that list.