Dunk City: A look at everyone’s favorite March Madness team

Published On March 30, 2013 | By Paula Maloney

When I think of outstanding basketball coaches, names such as Bobby Knight, Gerry Tarkanian, John Thompson, and Mike Krzyzewski immediately come to mind. These were the names synonymous with legacy from my generation in the world of collegiate basketball. March Madness always gets me fired up and I tend to root for the underdogs as their stories tend to be prolific. Two years ago I was focused on Virgina Commonwealth University and the likes of Joey Rodriquez, an outstanding three-point shooter from Merritt Island . Last year Norfolk State and Butler University caught my attention. This year’s March Madness has not disappointed, as a university located in Ft. Myers, Fla. named Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has caught us all by surprise. The Eagles have at the helm as their coach Andy Enfield and the players are older than the university itself which was technically founded in 1991 but didn’t start actually admitting students until 1997.

Enfield played basketball for John Hopkins University and was heralded  as one of the best free throw shooters in NCAA history. He began his career in professional basketball working for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics, teaching his shooting techniques which he parlayed into a successful business involving shooting technique videos. He also partnered in a multimillion dollar company called TractManager in which he eventually sold his shares as he wanted to return to his lifelong passion: basketball. Coach Andy is married to a former supermodel and has three children, as if he needed more to round his resume. His current role is that of head basketball coach at FGCU and what a statement he and his unassuming players have made in the past week or so.

Hollywood could not have written a better script: A 43 year old, self-made millionaire with a super model wife and three children in only his second year at the helm of a Division I school has made the cut for the Sweet Sixteen. This university has come on the scene with such a force and  a coach who seemingly has the ” Midas touch.” What is the thought process behind Enfield’s unique coaching style? Quite simply, the egos are checked at the door, they play like a team and overall do not appear to take themselves too seriously. In contrast, as I watched Georgetown go down in defeat to FGCU with a score of 78-68, the Eagles looked like they were actually having fun as they played. Georgetown, on the other hand, with its highly selective process of recruiting players looked dazed and confused.

San Diego State was the next victim to feel the wrath of the Eagles and found themselves on the losing end with a score of 81-71. History was in the making as FGCU secured a spot in the Sweet Sixteen, the first 15 seed to do so in tournament history. Players such as Sherwood Brown and Brett Comer are quickly becoming buzzed about by basketball players and fans. Their ease of style was evident and they themselves look a bit surprised as to what the fuss is all about.

A trip to the Elite Eight was on the line as FGCU played the mighty University of Florida on Friday night in Arlington, Texas. It doesn’t get any better that two Floridian universities being pitted against one another. Florida is a powerhouse athletic school; FGCU is a school that hardly anyone outside of Florida had ever heard of before now. On Friday night it was time for both teams to play ball. I, for one, was watching and cheering for the Eagles.

FGCU might have fallen to mighty Florida Friday night, but for me, this team is truly what March Madness is all about. I find the word “madness” most fitting, as who would have predicted Gonzaga being eliminated by Wichita State and that a school out of Ft. Myers, Fla. located near the local airport would have beaten the likes of Georgetown and San Diego State.

This year’s Cinderella story might not have made it all the way, but it sure was fun while it lasted.

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About The Author

I grew up outside of Boston with three brothers and immersed in sports early on. I studied at Boston University School of Education and spent summers as a lifeguard in Nantucket where I fell in love with the island and currently reside there. I work in real estate and as a broadcaster for Channel 99 covering the local sports scene on the island. I am an avid athlete but my passion is surfing. I have run three Boston Marathons and one New York Marathon which was truly a runner's high.I am the proud mother of Bizzy, in her second year of law school and Molly, a junior in college majoring in communications.