David Whitley: Georgia hiring Mike White is good for the Florida Gators and the Bulldogs

David Whitley
Gator Sports
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The Mike White Era is over, and most everybody feels pretty good about how it ended. They also probably feel odd.

It’s not often a guy is coaching the Gators one day and 24 hours later is saying, “How ‘bout them Dawgs!”

There’s never been a basketball or football coach go directly from Florida to Georgia, or vice versa. The mere thought would have given Steve Spurrier or Vince Dooley grand mal seizures.

Nobody really seems to mind with this one. White was well-liked on a personal level and did good job given all the adversity that came his way.

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An unusual ending for Mike White era

He didn’t do a great job, however, and fan discontent was growing. The situation cried for a graceful way out. It seemed the best hope would be for White to return his Ole Miss alma mater if/when the Rebels fire Kermit Davis.

White wasn’t waiting around. He took the first exit ramp available and has ended up in a basketball backwater.

Georgia has won one NCAA Tournament game in the past 25 years. That doesn’t really bother anybody because they’re still drunk from celebrating the Bulldogs’ first football title in 410 years.

It’s a little embarrassing, however, when your football team wins more than twice as many games as your hoops team. Georgia’s a brand name in a good recruiting area.

White should make the Bulldogs respectable. And it will be a lot easier replacing Tom Crean than Billy Donovan.

I don’t know if Florida would have fired White. It would have been painful, and it also would have required an $8.75 million buyout. Now Georgia is reportedly paying UF $1.25 million for hiring away an employee under contract.

Win-win, with more than a dash of weirdness. 

Florida Gators head coach Mike White gestures to get the ball with two hands during a against Georgia at the Exactech Arena in Gainesville Fla., Feb. 9, 2022. White is now going to be Georgia's coach.

Florida women win track title

Stud of the Week  Florida women’s track team, which blew away the field to win the NCAA indoor track championship. It was the first women’s crown and 10th overall title under coach Mike Holloway, who will not be accepting any job offers from Georgia.

Dud of the Week – Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for a year for betting on games. The NFL’s official betting partners FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet and WynnBet immediately installed Ridley as a 5-1 favorite to win 2023 Comeback Player of the Year.

No NCAA committee love for Tennessee

Dud II – The NCAA Selection Committee. Red hot SEC champ Tennessee gets a No. 3 seed, while stumbling Duke gets a No. 2? If you didn’t know better, you’d think there’s a conspiracy to get Mike Krzyzewski to one more Final Four. ...

Congratulations to LSU for setting an NCAA record for delayed justice. Three years after FBI wiretaps caught basketball coach Will Wade talking about paying off recruits, the school finally got around to firing him last week.

“Our responsibility to protect and promote the integrity and well-being of our entire institution and our student-athletes will always be paramount,” LSU said in a press release.

To prove that, it paid Wade $7.35 million the past three years and let the teams he bought go to three straight NCAA tournaments.

In related news, LSU announced it was suspending Pete Maravich for selling autographs during the 1968-69 season. …

Correction: This is Georgia’s first football national championship in 41 years, not 410 years. Honest mistake. ... 

I don’t want to say the world has gone crazy, but an unnamed five-star 2023 football recruit signed an NIL deal worth $8 million, according to The Athletic. That’s $3 million more than Wade paid for LSU’s entire 2018 class. ...

Stronger than Florida's Tim Tebow?

The strongest player at the NFL Combine was Boston College lineman Zion Johnson, who bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times. To promote his new book, “Mission Possible”, Tim Tebow tried to top that last week.

He got to 31 before his pecs gave out.

“The mission wasn’t possible today,” Tebow said in a Twitter video.

Still, not bad for a 34-year-old ex-Mets minor leaguer. ...

NIL Redux: USC coach Lincoln Riley has bought a $17.15 million mansion with ocean views, seven fireplaces, an elevator, a guest house, a movie theater, a tennis court and a putting green. He plans to sell it in three years to the Trojans’ starting quarterback. ...

If NIL had been around when Tebow was at UF, he would have gotten $5,000 for every bench-press rep. Then he probably would have donated the money to charity. ...

This Just In: The NCAA Selection Committee has announced all teams coached by someone whose last name begins with a “Krz” will be given an automatic pass to the Final Four. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until next week, take Calvin Ridley's advice and bet on Duke.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley

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