RUSTON, La. (AP) - Michael White earned his reputation as a strong recruiter in the South during his seven seasons as an assistant at Mississippi.
Louisiana Tech expects him to build on that as the new head coach of a program that has produced several NBA players, from Karl Malone to P.J. Brown, but has fallen on hard times.
The 34-year-old White was formally introduced Wednesday as Louisiana Tech's new coach.
"One of the major criteria we were seeking for a new leader of our men's program was someone with strong ties in recruiting and especially in the South," athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said. "Michael more than fulfills that quality and we are confident he is going to bring a high-energy, passionate approach to recruiting outstanding student-athletes to the team."
White succeeds Kerry Rupp, who was fired after going 57-69 overall and 20-42 in the Western Athletic Conference over four seasons.
"Never would I have dreamed that my first head coaching job would be at such a highly thought of institution like Louisiana Tech," White said. "This is a very special place and I want to do my part in helping make it even more special.
"I know it's going to be really busy in upcoming weeks, but I'm ready to get my feet wet and get to work," White said. "It won't be a quick fix, but we are going to do everything we can."
While at Ole Miss, White helped the Rebels twice finish a top the Southeastern Conference West Division and receive four postseason berths. In addition to his recruiting, he also coached guards and helped develop five players that earned All-SEC honors the past five years.
"I can't wait to get back to recruiting this area and especially Louisiana," White said. "The conferences of Ole Miss and Tech might be different, but I plan to recruit the same types of players and young men that we recruited there. We're going to recruit every possible player we can in this state, in Arkansas, in Mississippi and the rest of the region."
White, the son of Duke athletic director Kevin White, grew up in New Orleans while his father was Tulane's A.D. He played for four years at Ole Miss, helping the Rebels win the SEC West twice and earn three NCAA tournament appearances, along with the program's first victory in an NCAA tournament game.
Before returning to Ole Miss as an assistant coach, he served in a similar role for four years at Jacksonville State, which won its most games in Division I (20) in a single season during White's time there in 2002-03.