ATHENS —The University of Georgia confirmed the hiring of former Florida basketball coach Mike White on Sunday night, per an athletic board executive committee teleconference.

White’s hire is a bit of an upset: Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates was considered the leading candidate for the job after Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes, the ACC Coach of the Year, signed an extension with the Demon Deacons last Sunday.

The Bulldogs’ ability to hire a Power 5 coach with an Elite Eight and four NCAA tournament trips on his resume -- and no NCAA or FBI investigative dealings -- is likely about as good as the school could do, when one considers the basketball program’s modest facilities and history.

Stegeman Coliseum, while aesthetically pleasing to most, is the second-oldest basketball facility in the SEC, as well as the third-smallest, in terms of its capacity.

The team locker room pales in comparison to many of the top schools Georgia looks to compete with, and to this point, there has been no NIL impact for the Bulldogs while Kentucky has a top freshman driving a Porsche.

SEC arenas (File/Dawgnation)

Former Georgia players and staff campaigned for Xavier assistant and former UGA player Jonas Hayes to get the job, even before coach Tom Crean was fired following the Bulldogs’ first-round loss to Vanderbilt at the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Tampa last Wednesday night.

“It’s time for us to hire one of our own,” Bulldogs Sports Network color analyst Mark Slonaker, a former UGA player and assistant under Hugh Durham, told

“We haven’t ever done it. We have a highly qualified (candidate) ready to do it. Jonas is going to bring in talent, and he’s going to be great for the program.”

Second-year Georgia athletics director Josh Brooks disagreed, likely on account of the fact that Hayes has no head coaching experience.

The much-improved SEC is not a league for on-the-job training.

Further, UGA’s basketball track record does little to enhance candidates who come from a program that has just one SEC regular-season title in school history and, technically, hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 1996 (a 2002 tourney win was vacated).

Brooks’ previous hires, with the exception of longtime UGA softball assistant Tony Baldwin -- --who was a part of last season’s Women’s College World Series staff -- have had head coaching experience.

Brooks has made clear his expectations are for Georgia athletics to compete in championships in all sports.

In hiring White (142-87), Brooks has added a proven coach who at the age of 45 could be rounding into the prime years of his career. Prior to Florida, White paid his dues with four years of head coaching experience at Louisiana Tech.

White took the Gators to four NCAA tournaments over the course of his seven years in Gainesville, including a trip to the Elite Eight his second season with the program.

Florida slipped to 19-13 this season, including a 9-9 mark in the SEC, and did not make the NCAA tournament.

There were rumblings in the Florida fanbase throughout the season, but Gators’ athletic director Scott Stricklin had given no indications a change could be imminent.

Many thought White, a four-year starter at Ole Miss from 1995-1999, could be the leading candidate to replace Kermit Davis as the Rebels’ head coach should that school make a move.

Three SEC coaches have been fired this offseason at the time of this publication: Crean, Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin and LSU coach Will Wade.