The basketball staff of the Florida Gators men represents the University of Florida . The Gators compete in NCAA Division I’s Southeastern Conference (SEC). Home matches are played at the Exactech Arena in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the university’s Gainesville, Florida campus.
Achievement was rare for many decades, although the University of Florida’s first basketball team took the court in 1915. The program did not have a decent gymnasium before the Florida Gymnasium in 1950, did not hire a full-time basketball trainer until Norm Sloan at 1960, also did not play in a modern arena until the O’Connell Center started in 1980. Florida made its first postseason tournament appearance from the 1969 National Invitation Tournament and appeared at the NCAA tournament in 1987, but consistent success was elusive, and the Gators frequently found themselves in the bottom half of their conference standings.
Florida’s basketball program found consistent victory under head coach Billy Donovan, who had been hired in 1996. Recently as Florida’s coach, Donovan headed the program to seven of its eight Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season championships, each of four SEC championship championships, fourteen of twenty-two NCAA Tournament appearances, four out of five Final Four appearances, along with back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. Florida’s head coach since 2015 has been Mike White, who’s led the Gators to three NCAA Tournament bids in his first four seasons at the school.
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