Georgia looks to rival for men's basketball coach post, quickly hires Florida's Mike White, 45

Georgia has hired Florida's Mike White as its next men's basketball coach, the school announced on Sunday night.

The Bulldogs fired Tom Crean after four seasons on Thursday and moved quickly to secure White. Cleveland State's Dennis Gates and Chattanooga's Lamont Paris were also involved in the search, sources told ESPN, but Georgia had quietly laid the groundwork for White.

The executive board of the Georgia Athletic Association approved a contract for White during a conference call on Sunday. Details of the deal weren't immediately released.

Georgia reached out Florida around noon on Sunday for permission to speak with White, a source told ESPN. Georgia connected on Zoom with White, and he informed Florida officials he was leaving thereafter. White informed his team around 5 p.m. ET.

Instead of being on the hot seat at Florida next season, White gets a new deal and a fresh start in the Southeastern Conference. His Florida contract had been extended in June through 2027. Georgia will pay Florida about $1.25 million in buyout money.

White has been coach at Florida for the past seven seasons, going to four NCAA tournaments, and would have gone to five if not for the coronavirus pandemic canceling the tournament in 2020. He won at least one game in each of the past four NCAA tournaments, including an Elite Eight run in 2017. But the Gators are not expected to make the NCAA tournament this season and there had been some tension between White and the fan base about his team's recent performances.

There was growing speculation over the past few weeks that White could look to make a move this spring, but most industry sources pinpointed Ole Miss as the likely landing spot. Instead, Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks has made a statement hire just 14 months after taking over the job.

Prior to being hired at Florida in 2015 to replace Billy Donovan, White was the coach at Louisiana Tech, winning 83 games in his final three seasons with the Bulldogs. White, 45, also spent time as an assistant coach at Ole Miss and Jacksonville State following a playing career at Ole Miss.

Georgia hasn't reached the NCAA tournament since 2015 and hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since 2002. In Crean's four seasons, the Bulldogs went 47-75 overall and 15-57 in SEC play. They went just 6-26 (1-17 in the SEC) this season.

ESPN's Pete Thamel and Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.