Gators add Erik Pastrana to basketball coaching staff

Graham Hall
UF basketball writer
UF assistant coach Erik Pastrana

Two months after former assistant coach Jordan Mincy departed from the program for the head coaching role at Jacksonville University, the Florida men’s basketball program and coach Mike White have found his replacement. 

UF announced the hiring of Erik Pastrana on Monday as an assistant coach, giving the Gators a highly regarded recruiter and a rising assistant coach in college basketball. 

"We're really excited about Erik joining the Florida program," White said in a statement. "He has a proven track record, coaching and recruiting at a high level everywhere he’s been and will be a great fit with our team and our staff."

Pastrana arrives in Gainesville having spent the past two seasons in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State. With Pastrana in the fold, the Cowboys went 39-23 across two seasons and signed a top-5 recruiting class in 2020 led by the consensus No. 1 NBA draft pick in July, 6-foot-8 point guard Cade Cunningham. 

Despite traveling halfway across the country, Pastrana shouldn’t lack familiarity with the current recruiting landscape. 

Pastrana, a native of Miami who attended Florida State, previously coached at both Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University after beginning his career as an assistant at Kansas State under current South Carolina head coach Frank Martin. 

“I am beyond excited to join one of the elite programs in all of college basketball,” Pastrana said. “Having grown up in Florida, I am fully aware of the tradition and passion that comes with being a part of Florida Basketball." 

Prior to joining the Cowboys, Pastrana worked under former UF assistant Dusty May at FAU, and he also brings with him coaching experience in Florida at the AAU, high school and junior college level. 

“I am so thankful for the past two years at Oklahoma State working alongside one of my best friends in Mike Boynton,” Pastrana continued. “It was going to take a special situation for me to leave Stillwater, and I found that in the University of Florida and Coach White. Let’s get to work! Go Gators!”

Florida still has work to do when it comes to rounding out its coaching staff for next season. The Gators have one vacancy available after Darris Nichols took the head coaching gig at Radford University on April 21. White, speaking May 6 via Zoom with UF’s Alumni Association, said the Gators intended to be patient with the process and find the best tandem available. 

“I’m taking my time. I just continue to tell myself ‘We don’t play until November’,” White said. “We’re going to have three guys here in Summer A, so we’re being really, really thorough. And there’s a ton of really good candidates out there, it’s just a matter of finding the right couple. The best couple. I don’t know that anything is just a perfect fit, but we anticipate here, sometime in the near future, finding the best fit possible, really on both sides, because you want guys that really want to be here as well, that want to be part of Gator Nation.”