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Florida basketball assistant coach Dusty May hired by Florida Atlantic

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The Gators lose Mike White’s lead assistant.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Florida vs Virginia Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators’ last loss of the 2017-18 season on the court came on Saturday against Texas Tech. But off the court, the Gators have more losses to take — and one of them will be Mike White’s lead assistant.

Dusty May, who followed White from Louisiana Tech to Florida in 2015, will be named the new head coach at Florida Atlantic, per a FAU release.

The news was first reported Thursday by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

Goodman had previously reported that FAU — newly helmed by athletic director Brian White, Mike White’s younger brother — was interested in May. (FAU looking to Gainesville for coaches is only fair, given that Billy Donovan poached former Florida assistant Matt McCall — now at UMass, and one of the nation’s rising head coaches — from Boca Raton.)

While May leaving the Gators for the Owls is a blow to White’s staff, it is unlikely to come as much of a surprise to White that he would need to replace members of the three-man crew that came with him from Louisiana Tech to Florida. May was a candidate to succeed White in Ruston in 2015 before ultimately opting to come to Gainesville, and he and fellow assistants Jordan Mincy and Darris Nichols have all been considered potential head coaching candidates, not least because they fit a profile for young, smart assistants with playing backgrounds that athletic directors love.

But while May leaving is a shakeup for a staff that has been stable since White’s arrival, it is also an opportunity for White to shore up a weakness.

With May on staff, all four of Florida’s coaches, White included, had backgrounds as guards — though May, unlike Mincy, Nichols, and White, did not play college basketball. And that arguably showed over the last three years, as Florida’s guards routinely outshone the program’s big men. White can now search for an assistant with background in developing or landing big men to complement his existing staff’s backcourt expertise, and do so without upsetting staff chemistry by firing a coach.

May’s departure, while probably not something White wanted, is still something that affords him and the Gators a chance to get better. We’ll see how they take it.