Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White "has emerged as a leading candidate" for the same position at Florida, reports Yahoo Sports's Pat Forde.
And talks may be about to begin:
A meeting between Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and White could take place as soon as today, sources said.
White has been Louisiana Tech's head coach for four years, and led the Bulldogs to a 101-40 record in that span, taking them well into the NIT in each of the last two years while winning 27 games in each of the last three. He's well-regarded as one of college basketball's brighter young minds, and would probably be at or near the top of any poll of best coaches yet to make an NCAA Tournament.
But he also lacks some name recognition, as candidates for Florida's big chair go. I wrote this much last week:
I would estimate that fewer than 500 Florida basketball fans know Michael White's name; this isn't a truly basketball-savvy fan base, beyond its intimate knowledge of Donovan's program, and he would be a hard sell for the Florida brass.
But White's a very good coach, and no coach worth his salt (especially one whose father is the athletic director at Duke) is going to stay in the decaying Conference USA for long. If Florida strikes out on top targets, or wants to cheap out and still get a good coach, White fits the bill, though he would need to weather a storm of "Who?" on the recruiting trail.
I also wrote that I didn't think Florida would get this far down Foley's list, especially with Dayton's Archie Miller and Xavier's Chris Mack presumed frontrunners for the role. But Forde's reporting on Florida has been sound of late: He was among the first to link Jim McElwain to the Gators while he was still Colorado State's head coach, and among the first reporting that Florida was in hot pursuit of him. (Forde and GatorZone's Chris Harry are good friends.)
And if a meeting between Foley and White is close, I have to imagine a hire is, too: Foley just finished a very public and somewhat complex courtship of McElwain six months ago, and is, I suspect, not interested in another drawn-out hiring.
White wouldn't be my first candidate to replace Donovan; that's still Archie Miller. But White certainly fits much of the profile Donovan established before his own hiring.
And of the 10 names other than Miller I wrote about, White is the one I like best.