For just the third time in 28 years, the Florida Gators will be looking for a new men's basketball coach, after former Head Coach Mike White was announced as the new men's basketball coach at the University of Georgia.
During his seven years at the University of Florida, Mike White was 142-88 (72-52 SEC) with four NCAA Tournament bids but had become embattled with a fanbase mired in apathy towards subpar performance following future College Basketball Hall of Fame coach Billy Donovan.
With Mike White now out, bookmakers have set odds for who they believe are the favorites to be the next Florida Gators Head Basketball Coach.
Odds to be Next Florida Gators Head Basketball Coach
According to bookmakers, Baylor associate Head coach Jerome Tang is currently the favorite to be the next head coach with +550 odds and an implied probability of 15.4%. Here's a breakdown of the top candidates for the job.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Florida sports betting is currently prohibited so there are no sports betting apps in Florida legally offering odds on the next Florida head basketball coach.
Breaking Down the Favorites
The Gators job is likely considered the top job on the market currently, with Louisville recently hiring Kenny Payne from the New York Knicks, which should allow the Gators a "right of first refusal" to most top names on the market.
Jerome Tang: +550
Current: Baylor Associate Head Coach
Jerome Tang has been with the Baylor for 19 seasons serving under head coach Scott Drew and helping the Bears win the 2021 men's basketball National Championship. Under Drew and Tang, Baylor has climbed from the bottom cellars of Big 12 basketball to seven NCAA Tournament bids in the last 10 years & only second to Gonzaga since the start of the 2020 season in total wins in the country. Tang has never been a head coach, however, and is likely being courted by a number of schools - including SEC East foe Missouri. Will The Gators fanbase be OK with a coach without head coaching experience.
Jordan Mincy: +600
Current: Jacksonville Head Coach
A familiar name to basketball fans, Mincy the current head coach at Jacksonville University, was previously an assistant coach under Mike White for six years. In his first year with the Dolphins, Mincy went 21-10 and finished second in the Atlantic-10 conference. Mincy was named to ESPN.com’s 40 Under 40 in the summer of 2020 & at the time was the highest-ranking assistant coach on the list. Mincy at just 35-years old has, obviously, climbed the coaching ladder quite quickly and has a familiarity with Gainesville, but only has one year of head coaching experience and will be connected back to a rather lack-luster Mike White tenure. Mincy will continue to climb the ladder, but will it be in the Orange and Blue?
Matt McMahon: +600
Current: Murray State Head Coach
Matt McMahon has his Murray State Racer's dancing as a 7-seed and a Cinderella favorite to advance to the second weekend. McMahon has a 153-66 record and has six years of head coaching experience, with four Ohio Valley Conference championships, three OVC Tournament championships, and one OVC Coach of the Year honor. McMahon is the hottest name of the mid-major names and is likely featured on the hot board for every open men's basketball coach position. McMahon will have his choices and will it finally be the year he makes the move?
Ron Hunter: +850
Current: Tulane Head Coach
Hunter, the current head coach at Tulane, has been a head coach since 1994 (IUPUI, Georgia State) and has a career 480-359 record with three NCAA Tournament appearances with Georgia State. In his three years at Tulane, Hunter is 36-46 and while Gators fans will likely scoff at that record, Hunter has drastically improved the Green Wave & has them playing fast and improving year over year.
Anthony Grant: +950
Current: Dayton Head Coach
Grant, a former Gators assistant under Billy Donovan, has been the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth, the University of Alabama, and now Dayton since leaving Gainesville in 2006. Grant has a 294-161 record as a head coach and has four NCAA Tournament appearances with six NIT tournament bids, including a second-place finish in 2010. While Grant's tenure at Alabama led to his firing, since being back in college basketball with Dayton he is 101–51, and this could be a prime opportunity for him to return back to the sidelines of the O'Connell Center.
Mike Boynton: +950
Current: Oklahoma State Head Coach
Boynton, who has been with the Cowboys since 2017, is 87-73 as a head coach, including one NCAA Tournament appearance. Boynton, a former point guard for the University of South Carolina is familiar with the SEC and could look at Florida as a place with more opportunity and resources than he has in Stillwater. Boynton, a likely target to replace Frank Martin at his alma mater, is considered a rising star in the coaching ranks.
Todd Golden: +1200
Current: University of San Francisco Head Coach
Todd Golden, the second youngest coach on this list, has been the head coach at little known University of San Francisco since 2019. Leading them to a 2022 NCAA Tournament birth, Golden has a 57-35 career coaching record. Golden did spend some time at Auburn as an assistant from 2014-2016 under Bruce Pearl. Golden is likely going to continue to climb the coaching ladder, but is his resume strong enough for Florida?
Eric Konkol: +1200
Current: Louisiana State Head Coach
Could the Gators head back Ruston, La. for their next head coach? Konkol, who replaced Mike White, is 152-74 as the Bulldogs head coach and won the Conference USA Western Division, and won the C-USA Coach of the Year in 2021. Will the Gators faithful be OK with a 152–74 record and no NCAA Tournament appearances?
Penny Hardaway: +1200
Current: Memphis Head Coach
The former NBA Superstar would be a splash hire in name recognition, but could Florida tempt the Memphis native to leave? Memphis, a nine-seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, is the reigning NIT Champion. Hardaway is 84-42 in four seasons with the Tigers and is considered one of the strongest recruiting programs in the country now. Is the Gators opening better than Memphis? Could the Gators throw enough money to bring the former Orlando Magic point guard back to Florida? Would Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin be OK with someone of the allegations toward Penny Hardaway and impermissible benefits?
Rick Pitino: +1400
Current: Iona Head Coach
Billy Donovan, the most revered name in Florida basketball, spent four years with Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky as an assistant coach, and with that connection has been a name floated around for years in Florida Gators social media circles as a successor for Mike White. A two-time* NCAA National Champion with seven Final Four appearances, Pitino has an 807-285 record as a head coach but has a background with some controversy with a vacated national championship from 2013 at 69 years old, would not likely be a long-term option for the Gators. Pitino, currently with Iona, has one NCAA tournament birth and one NIT birth, although his Gaels lost to the Gators in the first round.
Billy Gillispie: +2000
Current: Tarleton State Head Coach
A former SEC head coach with Kentucky, Gillespie has seen his star rise, then fall, and begin to rise again. Gillespie, who has over 20 years of head coaching experience, has worked at Texas A&M, Kentucky, Texas Tech, Ranger College, and now Tarleton State has 172-135 record and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Gillispie would obviously jump at the opportunity to come to Gainesville, but would Stricklin be interested in a coach who has been out of a major conference for the last 10 years with some baggage? Likely not.
Geno Auriemma: +2000
Current: UConn Women's Basketball Head Coach
At 67-years old Geno Auriemma may only have one last chance to jump from women's basketball to the men's side - could it be with Florida? A former Olympic Coach, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame member Auriemma is widely considered one of the best coaches in Women's basketball history. Could he want to try to cement a legacy in men's college basketball?
Overview of the Gators Head Basketball Coach Search
With the NCAA and NIT tournaments just starting, we are likely at least a few weeks away from the coaching search truly heating up. Scott Stricklin, who has had to replace a head football coach and women's basketball coach over the last four months, likely has already begun making calls gauging interest. Could Stricklin go "Big Name Hunting", like Scott Drew (Baylor), or will he go with an up-and-comer that could be the next big thing?
There is a palpable aura of apathy amongst fans and while expectations aren't unreasonable, they are higher than "competing" and occasionally making an tournament run. Stricklin, who will have had to replace his two biggest sports' head coaches in just four months, will need to get this hire right, along with his football coach hire Billy Napier - or he too, could be on the hot seat.
Florida Gators Basketball Head Coach History
When you think of University of Florida basketball, the first name that comes to mind is current Chicago Bulls (formerly with the Oklahoma City Thunder) head coach Billy Donovan. Donovan had a 467-186 (200-110 SEC) record and lead the Gators to back-to-back National Championships in 2006 and 2007. Donovan followed Lon Kruger, who brought the Gators to the first-ever Final Four (1994) and left in 1996 to become the head coach at Illinois.
Mike White joined the Gators in 2015 after Donovan left for the NBA, from Louisiana Tech was considered one of the bright up-and-comer names in college basketball. White's teams were considered widely inconsistent, despite some success, including a trip to the 2017 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, but never won an SEC Championship or SEC Tournament Championship - something Gator fans were accustomed to competing for and were often mired in a lack of offensive identity, scoring droughts, and roster management.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Odds for this article were set by Bookies.com's Senior Handicapper.