Andy Enfield led No. 15 FGCU to wins over No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State before falling to Florida. (Al Tielemans/SI)
Using Twitter as a barometer of opinion of USC's hiring of Florida Gulf Coast head coach Andy Enfield can create a skewed sample, but it was surprising to see how many people doubted the hire because of Enfield's perceived lack of credentials. The NCAA tournament does double as an annual lottery for coaching hopefuls, and FGCU's star turn did obfuscate its identity as a second-place Atlantic Sun program, but to be that surfacy about Enfield is to be wrong about him.
Enfield, a former star player at the Division III level, is well plugged-in in NBA circles. He was a shooting coach with his own company and was also employed by the Milwaukee Bucks in that capacity. He also worked as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics under some guy named Rick Pitino. Once he reimmersed in the college game, he became a highly regarded assistant coach at Florida State. Then he took over a fledgling Division I program in its first season of full eligibility, and in two seasons, won 41 games and made a Sweet 16 appearance. A number of the main characters in the Eagles' magical run were in Enfield's first class of recruits.
So while it would be easy to say that USC was seduced by a week of hype about Dunk City and made a kneejerk hire, the truth is Pat Haden and the Trojans rolled the dice on an exciting up-and-comer with significant qualifications who handled this run, on and off the court, extremely well. He looks the part of a major-conference head coach, and now he is one.
The gamble is a calculated one for the Trojans. Once UCLA installed Steve Alford to replace Ben Howland, the opportunity was there to counter with a style that's much more appealing. That's exactly what USC did, which should help them in recruiting the local (and national) markets. You'd assume UCLA will revive locally under Alford, but there are going to be kids that want to build something at USC while throwing and receiving lobs. Adding assistants to his staff who have had success recruiting in California and/or the league would be a huge help.
All in all, it appears to be a strong move. USC wins the press conference with a confident hire. UCLA fans are acting like another owner in their fantasy league just grabbed the sexy, high-beta WR. Enfield multiplies his salary by many times and gets to see how his high-flying approach plays on a bigger stage. And as an added bonus, the Pac-12 gets a distraction from its ref coordinator offering bounties.
Plus, there was this tweet from USC's athletics feed:
Intentional or not, he just trolled UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero. Let the fun begin!