Coach Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss didn’t make the NCAA Tournament this season, but Sunday’s Florida-South Carolina Elite 8 matchup is still quite intriguing to the Ole Miss bench boss.
While not only is it an all-ACC battle for the right to go to the Final Four, Kennedy previously worked with both team’s coaches – the Gamecocks’ Frank Martin and the Gators’ Mike White. Each were assistants under Kennedy.
“I know one of my friends is going to the Final Four. For Mike White, who has never coached in the NCAA Tournament, for him to have the opportunity in his first time to make a run to the Final Four — man, does it get any better than that?” Kennedy said according to The Clarion-Ledger. “Then Frank, here he is in year 5 really gaining momentum. I know one of them is getting to the Final Four, so I look at it regardless of what happens, one of those guys is going to have a lifelong memory.”
Martin was an assistant for Kennedy when he coached the Cincinnati Bearcats from 2004-06. Martin left to become an assistant at Kansas State in 2006 and rose to become head coach the following season. Similar to what South Carolina is doing now, in 2010, he led the Wildcats to the Elite 8. That was the farthest Kansas State had advanced into the NCAA Tournament since 1988.
He made the move to South Carolina in 2012. In five seasons as head coach, the Gamecocks are 95-73. This is the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2004. South Carolina has never previously been to the Final Four.
White is in his second season as coach at Florida. In addition to playing at Ole Miss, he was an assistant for the Rebels from 2004-2011. Kennedy kept him on staff when he became head coach in 2006. White became coach of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in 2011 and owns a 149-63 overall record as a college head coach.