Thanks to a great season so far, the Florida Gators are ranked No. 12 are are poised to finish strong in the NCAA tournament. Their coach, Mike White, was recently named a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award.
There are 10 semifinalists for the prestigious recognition. The other head coaches on the list are from Northwestern, Baylor, Gonzaga, West Virginia, SMU, Arizona, Louisville, Kansas, and Villanova. The finalists will be named on March 16.
White became coach at the University of Florida in 2015, replacing Billy Donovan. He previously head positions at Louisiana Tech as head coach, at Ole Miss as assistant coach, and at Jacksonville State as assistant coach. He was a basketball player at Ole Miss from 1995 to 1999, where he played point guard. He briefly played at the professional level in England and with the now-defunct International Basketball League, which was based in the US.
He’s known for building strong relationships with his players and for developing his players’ leadership abilities. This season, he has encouraged players to step up and take responsibility for their team’s performance. His players have held team meetings, in which only players were invited, to discuss how they could get things right in future games.
The Gators are currently 24 – 6 and have turned things around after losing to Vanderbilt, who they were heavily favored to beat. In the SEC, they have posted a record of 14 – 3. This is just one year after finishing in the middle of the pack at 21 – 15. Up ahead is a repeat game against Vanderbilt, followed by the SEC conference tournament the second week of March and the NCAA tournament later in the month.