Todd Golden contract: Florida Gators give basketball coach two-year extension before end of Year 2

By Staff
March 14, 2024
Todd Golden contract: Florida Gators give basketball coach two-year extension before end of Year 2

Image Credit: Ashley Ray, UAA

Florida Gators basketball has shown marked improvement in Year 2 under head coach Todd Golden with their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2021 expected this postseason. The University Athletic Association has decided to award Golden for that improvement with a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the program through the 2029-30 season, according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.

Though Golden’s extension comes before he has even competed in the NCAA Tournament — let alone won a postseason game (Florida last season went 16-17, falling to UCF in the first round of the NIT) — it was one of numerous such deals for college basketball coaches that leaked Thursday. The Gators (21-10, 11-7 SEC) completed their best regular season since 2016-17 when they advanced to the Sweet 16.

With two major jobs — Ohio State and Louisville — already open, programs are rushing to lock up their leaders and ward off poaching. Unconfirmed rumors suggested Arizona State might be interested; Golden grew up in Arizona and spent much of his career playing and coaching on the West Coast.

However, despite Golden’s steady progress in his second season, this is likely a case of his agent working athletic director Scott Stricklin into giving Golden a new contract despite a lack of projectable long-term success to this point.

Florida’s turnaround is far from complete, and it mostly came amid Golden substantially flipping the roster through the transfer portal between his first two seasons; his high school recruiting has left a lot to be desired.

He did overcome some adversity, though. One of those transfers never suited up for the program, and Golden was forced to move a freshman star in guard Riley Kugel to the bench after a strange lack of progression in his sophomore capaign.

The Gators have only spent a couple weeks in the AP Top 25, but while they were on the NCAA Tournament bubble for most of the season, Florida firmly pushed itself into the field a few weeks ago with only its seeding yet to be determined.

Still, the Gators have faced their share of struggles this campaign, including numerous situations in which they have blown double-digit second half leads and failed to come together at the ends of games. They spent most of the year without a win over a Quadrant 1 team, though success against opponents at that level is part of the progress Florida has made down the stretch.

UF is 3-2 in its last five games against top 25 teams since Jan. 31 with both losses coming on the road in close games. But the Gators lost late leads in both of those games and had legitimate opportunities to be 2-0 against both Kentucky and Alabama this season only to drop games against both teams.

Golden is 4-0 against his predecessor, Mike White, who left for Georgia after the 2021-22 season; the coaches meet again Thursday evening in the second round of the 2024 SEC Tournament.

Financial terms of the extension have yet to be reported.

Golden entered the season on a six-year, $18 million deal. His $2.6 million base salary this season made him the 42nd-highest paid coach in the nation and 12th-highest paid in the SEC (14th including Oklahoma and Texas, which join the conference next season), per the USA Today coaches salary database.

Expectations are that Golden and colleague Lamont Paris, the 2024 SEC Coach of the Year who was similarly extended by South Carolina on Thursday, will receive significant bumps.

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