GAINESVILLE -- Replacing Billy Donovan is an unenviable task, but Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is charged with finding a coach suitable to fill Donovan’s footsteps.
Foley will oversee a second major hire in the last six months, as the Gators will have a new football and basketball coach in the same year for the first time since 1990-91. They’ll be the only Power 5 school in the country with such a duo.
As is stands, Florida has the lone college basketball opening in the nation.
Donovan built UF into a national powerhouse, but the program is at a bit of a crossroads with just a decent roster and facilities that need upgrading. Is Florida actually an elite job, or was Donovan what made the Gators an annual contender?
Here’s a list of candidates Foley may pursue.
1. Archie Miller, Dayton head coach -- The hottest name potentially linked to Florida. The 36-year-old (and younger brother of Arizona coach Sean Miller) is a considered a rising star after taking the Flyers to the Elite Eight in 2013-14.
2. John Pelphrey, Florida assistant head coach -- The former South Alabama and Arkansas head coach has been Donovan’s top assistant since 2011. Ideally, Donovan would prefer Pelphrey succeed him.
3. Chris Mack, Xavier head coach -- An Ohio native, Mack has an impressive résumé (three Sweet 16 births in six seasons) but few ties to the South.
4. Michael White, Louisiana Tech head coach -- Another rising star and the son of Duke athletic director Kevin White. He played at Ole Miss and is considered a strong recruiter with success in the state of Florida.
5. Richard Pitino, Minnesota head coach -- A former UF assistant from 2009-11, but Rick Pitino’s son has never made the NCAA Tournament in five seasons as a head coach.
6. Jay Wright, Villanova head coach -- Easily the most accomplished coach on the list and a longshot candidate. Foley loves him, but Wright is a Northeast native and has coached at Nova for 14 years.
7. Steve Prohm, Murray State head coach -- Prohm, who went to Alabama, has dominated the Ohio Valley Conference, leading the Racers to a 104-29 record in four seasons. Another longshot candidate.
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