After an upset loss to Oral Roberts in the NCAA Tournament, Florida coach Mike White is feeling some heat. So who could replace him?
The Florida Gators beat Virginia Tech in the Round of 64 last Friday, then lost to Cinderella No. 15 seed Oral Roberts in the second round on Sunday. That’s the third straight second round NCAA Tournament exit under coach Mike White, as the Gators blew an 11-point second half lead.
White won at least 20 games in each of his first four seasons at Florida, highlighted by 27 wins and a run to the Elite Eight in 2017 (his second season). A 19-12 mark had the Gators at best on the bubble of last year’s NCAA Tournament (had it happened), and a 15-10 record this year had them on the bubble before getting a No.7 seed.
Measured against the standard of his predecessor, Billy Donovan, White is probably a huge disappointment to a lot of Gators fans. On the flip side, it’s hard to necessarily say he’s on the hot seat. But it’s worth wondering if a change is being considered, and if the right candidate surfaces, a change will be made.
Here are a handful of candidates to replace White if he is shown the door.
5 candidates to replace Mike White at Florida
5. Ritchie McKay, Liberty Head Coach
In six seasons back as Liberty’s head coach, McKay has won at least 20 games in five straight with bids in the last two NCAA Tournaments. If there had been a tournament in the 2020 the Flames would have gotten automatically as the Atlantic Sun tournament champs, but they would have been in the mix for an at-large bid (30-4 record with the tournament title win). Over those last three seasons, after a move from the Big South the Atlantic Sun, Liberty is 82-17.
Between stints as Liberty’s head coach, McKay spent six seasons as associate head coach under Tony Bennett at Virginia. He has also been a head coach at New Mexico, Oregon State, Colorado State and Portland State .
McKay wouldn’t be a hire that gets a lot of buzz. But if he’s the right guy, it won’t matter if he won the press conference.
4. Porter Moser, Loyola-Chicago Head Coach
Moser has led Loyola-Chicago to at least the Sweet 16 for the second time in the last three NCAA Tournaments, with a 99-35 record over the last four seasons. He notably turned down an offer from St. John’s after the Ramblers’ 2018 Final Four run, but’s he’s an easy candidate for the opening at Indiana until further notice.
Moser has some coaching roots in the South. He was an assistant at Texas A&M, then an assistant and eventually head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock. He then served as head coach at Illinois State, before becoming a disciple of the late Rick Majerus at Saint Louis.
There’s a case for Moser to be higher on this list. But his profession of loyalty to Illinois-Chicago seems genuine, and it’s hard to see Florida as a spot he’d consider a destination job. But if White is fired, the powers that be in Gainesville should try to get Moser.