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big games. For a Mike White coached team to win a big game is certainly not an anomaly.

I enjoy watching this man do his thing on the court. He is not given to histrionics. He has electric enthusiasm that confirms he has enduring competitive passion. Theteacher in him wants his teams to conserve energy, maximize effort, play under control, and play defense. Take percentage shots, hustle on both ends of the court and play defense.

In his first year in Athens, he realized early on what needed “fixing.” It went beyond personnel. Bring about game action encroachment with the students. Get them closer to the scene and make them part of it. Get them involved, impact the environment around the visitor’s bench.

He does not want the confines of Stegeman to be the least bit friendly to anyone wearing opponents’ colors. This is not to suggest he would want the atmosphere to be hostile with anything demeaning and unsportsmanlike— but make it an uncomfortable place to play if you are not wearing red and black.

As a former SEC player and coach, he visited Stegeman many times over the years. It was a place with a benign atmosphere. There was no home court advantage. That has long been a tradition here. When Hugh Durham, the winningest coach in Georgia basketball history, explored an opportunity to take over in Athens, he had to insist that he would not take the job if there would not be seats on the floor. He wanted his constituency to have the opportunity to frustrate the opposition.

The Steg now is so tight and cozy with abundant, flashing neon all about the building, a crowd that is on top of the action with capability to cause a deafening din as it did with 2.3 seconds left in the game against LSU. Mike White, an especial coach, has an athletic director whose full support he can count on.

He is a teacher who is also a promoter, an indefatigable worker, a fine recruiter and is bringing defining moments to Georgia basketball, which the program has sorely needed for some time.

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