Andy Enfield trades in Dunk City for the City of Angels
If Florida Gulf Coast University was this year’s March Madness Cinderella, then head coach Andy Enfield was the fairy godmother. But that fairy godmother has another team to transform, and a trip from one coast to another has landed Enfield the head coaching job at USC.
The news came Monday night, and Enfield will be officially introduced Wednesday. According to ESPN.com, the deal is for six years and will pay him well over $1 million per year. Enfield’s salary at FGCU? $157,000. Yeah, that’s quite the step up.
Enfield, 43 years old, was 41-28 in his only two seasons as head coach at FGCU. He led the Eagles to a school-record 26 wins this season, including a huge upset of No. 2 seed Georgetown. If that wasn’t enough, they then took down No. 7 seed San Diego State as a 15-seed for a place in the Sweet 16. This got the attention of the nation, but Enfield’s successful coaching techniques were no secret in the basketball world.
Enfield will take the reigns at USC from interim coach Bob Cantu, who took over when Kevin O’Neill was fired in mid-January. He had a 7-8 record in his time as head coach.
The road might be bumpy to start; the Trojans lost in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament to round out a three-game losing streak to end the season. Two players, Dewayne Dedmon and James Blasczyk, were suspended indefinitely and missed the Pac-12 tournament following allegations they were involved in a fight during the team’s last conference road trip of the season in Spokane, Wash.
USC hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 2011 and are 12-17 all-time, but you’ve got to think if anyone can put a program back on track, it’s Enfield.
FGCU was only in its third season as a Division I program when they became the country’s March Madness sweethearts. It’s impressive to say the least, and does speak volumes about Enfield’s coaching ability, but his players deserve due credit. They didn’t get the nickname Dunk City without stellar performances on the court, so time will tell how much of FGCU’s success came straight from Enfield’s coaching style.
And for anyone who criticizes Enfield for jumping ship, take a look at USC’s recent record. It’s nowhere near good. Taking on the Trojans is a project worth the money. And as for the $850,000 raise, could you say no?