It didn’t take long for Florida Gulf Coast University to become the toast of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Not only did FGCU upset Georgetown as a 15-seed and then move on to do the same to San Diego State to advance to the Sweet 16, but they won with style, even reckless, but calculated abandon. Their fast-paced, above-the-rim style earned the FCCU Eagles’ town of Fort Myers, Fla. a new nickname; Dunk City.
At the front of all the attention was head coach Andy Enfield, college hoops star himself, turned tech entrepreneur, turned super model marrying millionaire, turned college coach. He was the perfect front man for the perfect underdog tale.
Just 13 days after FGCU’s Cinderella run ended, the University of Southern California announced it had hired Enfield away from FGCU.
OFFICIAL: Please welcome Andy Enfield (@CoachEnfield) to the #TrojanFamily as the new head coach of @USC_Hoops. #DunkCityUSC
Dunk City has a new address and who could blame Enfield for leaving the upstart Eagles for USC?
As FGCU looks to the future, Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh thanked Enfield for creating “an extremely strong base for his successor” and wished him well in this “terrific opportunity.”
“No doubt the Enfields leave a tremendous legacy,” said Kavanagh. “One which includes not only captivating Eagle fans on campus and throughout SW Florida, but an entire nation that has now become fully aware of what the letters FGCU represent and stand for.”
FGCU won a career-high 26 games this season under Enfield and became the first 15 seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16. While the future was definitely bright on the West Coast of Florida, coaching at USC, on the West Coast of the country, is a much bigger stage.
Coaches turning trips to the Sweet 16 into better job opportunities is nothing new in college hoops. In fact, looking to advance in life after unheralded success in an inalienable right, in sports as well as in most facets of life.
So don’t hate Enfield for chasing his dream. Thank the man for putting FCGU on the map and remember that before Bryce Drew nailed a shot at the buzzer to beat Ole Miss in 1998, no one had ever heard of Valparaiso outside of Indiana. Now Valpo is a household name in the college basketball scene.