Florida’s Mike White: I have ‘no interest’ in Ole Miss basketball job

Published 3:22 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The idea of coaching at your alma mater is appealing to most, but Michael White isn’t interested.

That’s what White told reporters in Gainesville, Florida on Tuesday — a day after Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy announced his resignation effective at the end of the season after 12 years at the helm.

White, a point guard at Ole Miss from 1995-99 before spending seven years as an assistant at the school, was inevitably going to be linked as a potential candidate to replace Kennedy, but he shot down any notion of returning to Oxford. White is in his third season as the Gators’ head coach.

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“I have no interest at all,” White said. “I love Ole Miss, and my wife loves Ole Miss. It’s a great place. Great people. Oxford is an awesome town. Ole Miss has been really, really good to me. But we are so fortunate to be here at Florida. It’s one of the best jobs in the country. And I’m not interested in any other job.”

White, a popular name among the Ole Miss fan base given his success that’s resulted in a quick rise through the coaching ranks, is 65-32 at Florida and led the Gators to the Elite Eight last season. At 17-8 overall and 8-4 in the SEC this season, Florida is widely projected to make the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season under White.

The 40-year-old White was an assistant at Ole Miss from 2004-11 before getting his first head coaching job at Louisiana Tech, where he won 71.6 percent of his games over four seasons and led the Bulldogs to at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title and NIT berths in each of his final three seasons at the helm. White replaced Billy Donovan at Florida following the 2014-15 season.

It would make sense for Ole Miss to at least kick the tires on one of its own, but given the rich basketball history, a more fertile recruiting territory and a larger budget at Florida, White’s stance is predictable. The Gators have made 15 of the last 19 NCAA Tournament with five trips to the Final Four and back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007.

White also received a one-year contract extension following last season that will reportedly pay him $2.9 million by the end of the deal in 2023. By comparison, Kennedy is making just north of $2 million this season at Ole Miss.