New coach Todd Golden on ESPN during NIT game: Florida 'one of the best jobs in America'
Florida’s newly hired men’s basketball coach Todd Golden joined ESPN's broadcast crew via Zoom during UF's second-round NIT contest with Xavier.
He discussed his move from San Francisco to Gainesville, the UF program and more.
"It was a wild week, and one that I'll never forget," Golden said. "Obviously really proud of the season that we had at San Francisco, and kind of getting that program back on the map and getting back to the Tournament, some place that they hadn't been in a long time. ... When you have success in a place that it's not normally going on, you get a little bit of interest, and I'm just incredibly fortunate and thrilled that Scott Stricklin and his staff felt comfortable with me, and I'm just pleased to be the guy."
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Todd Golden: UF 'is the best school in Florida'
After mentioning his ties to the Southeastern Conference and coach Bruce Pearl, Golden was asked what enticed him most about UF's coaching vacancy.
The 36-year-old Golden didn't mince his words, saying Florida is in the upper echelon of Division I programs.
"I think it's one of the best jobs in America, and I think it's a place where you perennially play and compete for national championships," Golden said. "It's the best school in Florida, and it's a place where there's a ton of great players, ton of great tradition and history, as you mentioned before we got together, coaches like Lon Kruger and Billy Donovan, coaches I have a lot of respect for. And when coach Donovan was winning national championships, you know, it's a place where you can do that if you get the right people on board. So when this opportunity came about, I jumped at it as fast as possible."
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Golden was also asked specifically about Pearl, as well as is general philosophy as a head coach. Golden was coached by Pearl in the 2009 Maccabiah Games before joining Pearl's coaching staff at Auburn as an assistant for two seasons, from 2014-16.
"The time I spent with Bruce I feel like really completed me as a head coach. Great foundation, getting to play and work for guys like Randy Bennett and Kyle Smith, but getting to the SEC and spending time with Bruce, being on the ground floor of that rebuild for the first two years, and seeing the great understanding of what it takes to win at a high level in the SEC," Golden said, "and it really galvanized the fanbase, galvanized campus. Get the right people on board and really just bring the level of excitement to the program, something that hadn't been done before. I learned a lot from him my two years, for sure."
Finally, Golden discussed utilizing the NCAA's transfer portal and how it will play into his inaugural roster at Florida.
"I think the game of college basketball has changed more in the past two years than it had in the previous 20, and the transfer portal, whether people like it or not, is just a really important part of our profession now and our business, and as you mentioned, building rosters," Golden said. "So I'm going to do my best to keep the guys within the program on board, and get them to continue building stronger and moving forward, but there are going to be some additions through the portal, and there are going to be some guys who are really excited to come play at Florida. I'm excited to get my feet on the ground there and get going."