“We are extremely excited to welcome Mike White and his family to Athens,” Brooks said in a statement. “We’ve seen Coach White be a male leader, as well as a proven winner with some impressive playoff work. We want to compete for national success in our 21 sports, and we believe he is the coach who can make Georgian basketball a consistent winner in the college basketball landscape.
The terms of White’s deal with Georgia were not immediately disclosed. He was making $3.2 million with the Gators, according to published reports.
Crean was also earning $3.2 million as Georgia coach before being fired Thursday after a 6-26 season. That ended Crean’s four-year tenure with a 47-75 (.385) record. He had two years left on his original six-year, $19.8 million contract with the Bulldogs. But his buyout was reduced to a total of $3.2 million after the fourth season. That means he will have earned about $1.1 million per conference win for the 15 SEC games he won at Georgia.
People familiar with the research said Georgia also interviewed Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates, Murray State coach Matt McMahon, Chattanooga coach Lamont Paris and Xavier’s associate head coach Jonas Hayes. Hayes, who had become a favorite among UGA basketball men of letters, met Morehead and Brooks on Saturday.
But White had considerably more experience and success than all of the candidates. He led the Gators to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments and six consecutive playoffs coming this season. Florida did not receive a berth in the NCAA on Sunday.
The Gators finished tied for fifth in the SEC last season. They were 19-13 overall and 9-9 in the league. Florida lost to Texas A&M in the second round of the SEC tournament in Tampa on Thursday.
Florida has earned five straight playoff bids under White, reaching the 2016 NIT Quarterfinals and earning four straight NCAA bids from 2017-21. The Gators reached the Elite Eight in 2017 and are the only team of the SEC and one of only 12 nationally to have reached each of the last four editions of March Madness. Florida is one of six schools to have won a game in each of the last four NCAA tournaments. White was named SEC Coach of the Year by league coaches and the Associated Press in 2017, and eight different Gators have won All-SEC honors nine times during his tenure.
At Louisiana Tech, White led the Bulldogs to the Western Athletic Conference regular season crown in 2013 before winning back-to-back Conference USA titles in 2014 and 2015. La-Tech reached the NIT in each of those campaigns and qualified for the quarter-finals. in 2014 and 2015. His Bulldogs defeated the Georgia Bulldogs at the 2014 NIT. White was named WAC Coach of the Year in 2013 and Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2015.
White was a four-year starter at Ole Miss and helped the Rebels win two SEC Western Division titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances and the school’s first NCAA Tournament win. White also excelled off the court, earning a spot on two SEC Academic Honor Rolls and being named to the SEC Good Works Team in 1999.
White is married to former Kira Zschau. The couple have two daughters, Rylee and Maggie, twins, Collin and Keegan, and another son, Dillon.