Florida has hired San Francisco's Todd Golden to be its men's basketball coach on a six-year deal worth $18 million, the school announced on Friday. Golden replaces Mike White, who left Florida to take the Georgia job Sunday. CBS Sports first reported the news of Golden's impending hire earlier on Friday.
Golden has been hired hours removed from coaching San Francisco to its first NCAA Tournament in 24 years. The 10th-seeded Dons fell 92-87 in an overtime classic Thursday night in Indianapolis against No. 7 Murray State. Sources said Golden met with Florida officials in recent days.
"I'm energized by the opportunity to lead an elite program at Florida, and I'm ready to get started," Golden said. "Florida has a championship-level athletic department, university and men's basketball program, and I embrace the standard of excellence at Florida and the passion of Gator Nation. We couldn't be more excited about what the future holds in Gainesville.
"I also want to express my thanks to the University of San Francisco, Joan McDermott and Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald for the incredible support they've given me over the past six years at USF and the opportunity to lead a special group of young men."
In hiring Golden, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin has plucked yet another coach from the lower levels to lead a high-profile job. In December, Stricklin hired away Louisiana's Billy Napier to lead its football program. Sources in recent weeks told CBS Sports that Stricklin wasn't concerned with bringing in a big name from a power conference; he was focused on hiring the best fit and in fact wanted to go young.
At 36, Golden has seen his star rise rapidly in his three seasons as USF's coach, going 57-36 in three seasons with the Dons. Prior to becoming head coach at USF, he was an assistant there under former coach Kyle Smith. Golden played at Saint Mary's from 2004-07, then got into coaching in 2012 on Smith's staff at Columbia. He has previous experience in the SEC: Golden was an assistant for Bruce Pearl at Auburn from 2014-16.
As for Florida, its season is not over. The Gators play at Xavier on Sunday in the second round of the NIT.