White talks his stance on working officials


It’s part of basketball. Coaches lobby to get calls.

Former Florida coach Billy Donovan was known to get in the ears of officials during his 19-year tenure with the Gators.

So far, Florida coach Mike White has been more reticent to get heated about calls or non-calls. White certainly had reason to lobby a few complaints during UF’s 76-66 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Saturday. Florida was whistled for 22 fouls, compared to 13 fouls called on Kentucky during a physical game. Kentucky went to the free-throw line 27 times, compared to a season-low six trips for the Gators.

Asked about his philosophy on working officials, White said: “Sometimes I talk to them too much, sometimes you get consumed with them. Sometimes in retrospect you wish you maybe you would have said this or had seen that or maybe argued about this or that …

“My first couple of years at Louisiana Tech, I was consumed with the officials and being disrespected and so on and so forth because I was a young head coach.”

But White said he received words of wisdom from current SEC head of officials Mark Whitehead that made him change his thinking.

“He actually gave me some advice, put me under his arm at one point when he was doing one of our games and just talked about how I’m actually taking away from the focus on my guys and how to get them better and what we should be looking at offensively and defensively,” White said. “He made some really good points, which is why he’s great at what he does. For the most part, that’s what I try to do. If you’re watching everything the officials are doing, you’re not watching the five guys you’re responsible for.”

Following the Kentucky loss, White did try to approach officials in their locker room to receive clarification on a double technical foul involving Florida sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen and Kentucky sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe. The two techs were assessed after Briscoe slapped Allen in the face during an in bounds play and Allen responded with a shove. But by the time White got to the locker room, all three officials had left.

White said he received some clarification from the league office on the two techs, but would not get into specifics: “I don’t want to be fined in any way,” White said. “I’m still buying diapers …  you know, KeVaughn unfortunately was called for a technical foul. You all saw it. I don’t want to go any farther than that.”