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Did Florida Basketball Jump the Gun in Hiring Todd Golden?

Todd Golden
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Did Florida Basketball Jump the Gun in Hiring Todd Golden?

Soon after the San Francisco Dons’ overtime loss in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, the news broke that Florida would be signing USF head coach Todd Golden to a contract worth $18 million over six years. The 36-year-old Golden was the head coach at San Francisco for three seasons after being an assistant coach there for the three years prior. The Dons compiled a 57-36 record during Golden’s tenure, reaching the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed this season.

Is it possible that Florida Basketball jumped the gun in hiring Todd Golden away from USF? He has only three years of head coaching experience and is relatively unproven. It may raise some eyebrows that Golden’s San Francisco teams went 23-22 in West Coast Conference play. That’s not overwhelmingly impressive, definitely not to where one would expect Golden to get poached by the SEC. Maybe I’m not seeing something obvious, but Florida seems to be taking a big gamble here.

In no way am I trying to paint Golden as a bad basketball coach, but I am curious about the process that led a major program like Florida to hire him. Florida Basketball has won two national championships within the last 20 years. The only other programs that can lay claim to such an achievement are UConn, Duke, North Carolina, and Villanova. Florida is a job that can land a big fish. Is Golden a big fish? I’m not sure.

On the surface, this move still looks like a good one. Todd Golden was an assistant under Bruce Pearl at Auburn for three years and has SEC experience. He is certainly a talented coach and deserves credit for guiding USF to their first NCAA Tournament since 1998. However, blindly labeling the hire as a home run is probably premature given Golden’s overall record at San Francisco.

If Florida has their guy, we’ll know soon enough. There are certainly reasons to be optimistic that the Todd Golden era will be a success, but cautious optimism is probably the best view in this case.

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