Florida basketball is in a phase of transition with former head coach Mike White leaving Gainesville to become the new head coach at Georgia. The Gators replaced White with San Fransisco head coach Todd Golden, but turned the clock back with an opinion piece from alum Pat Dooley on its website Wednesday.
Dooley — a former Florida writer for the Gainesville Sun — lambasted the Gator fanbase for their treatment of White, claiming it was the reason the seventh-year coach left for Florida’s rival in Athens.
It took Florida less than three hours to delete its article on its website, but screenshots live forever, Including those taken from 10 Tampa News reporter Ben Murphy.
The actual University shipping this out on their own website is pathetically embarrassing pic.twitter.com/VZHMqt7qe7
— Ben Murphy WTSP (@BenMurphyTV) April 6, 2022
White was thought to be on the hot-seat at the end of the season as Florida missed the NCAA Tournament in White’s seventh season — the second time the third time the Gators missed the “Big Dance” in the coach’s tenure.
The former Louisiana Tech coach succeeded legendary Florida coach Bill Donovan who led the Gators to four Final Fours, two National Championships and two additional Elite Eights in his 19 seasons in Gainesville.
White couldn’t sustain that level of success in his tenure, failing to make it out of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament after his second season.
Florida fans grew displeased with White’s performance and the direction of the basketball program. Many in Gator nation were ready for Florida to move on from White before the coach bolted for Georgia. The piece on the Florida website pulled no punches on those people.
“Why did Mike White flee Gainesville to coach a mediocre Georgia Bulldogs team? The answer is simple and sad: Callous fans and lopsided media coverage made him miserable” was the pieces headline.
The notion that Florida fans have no right to be displeased with its basketball program is a ridiculous one. The Gators have competed at the very top of the sport in the not-so-distant past and have fallen into a second class SEC program under White.
And telling your customers that they’re wrong and don’t matter is a bold move, even if it’s an opinion piece from an alum.
Rick Barnes got to Tennessee the same year that White did to Florida. The Vols’ head coach dominated his now-boss’ — Danny White — brother winning eight of 10 matchups between the rival schools.
While Florida may be unhappy that White is no longer his head coach, hoops fans across the south were sad to see White take his middling results away from one of the conference’s best basketball jobs.