Enfield, Hopkins Once Were Finalists for USC Job; Look at Them Now

The Trojans coach had a tough Pac-12 start, while Hopkins thrived at the UW. Role reversal has set in.
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Andy Enfield was hired as the USC basketball coach in 2014, plucked from Florida Gulf Coast — no, that's not a junior college. 

The Trojans selected this small-school coach rather than the other finalist, Mike Hopkins, then the long-time Syracuse assistant, a Los Angeles native and an attractive candidate at the time, according to Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register.

Regret might have been hard to hide for USC athletic department officials when Enfield won just 6 of 37 Pac-12 games during his first two seasons on the job, and even more so when Hopkins went to Washington and became a two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year recipient.

USC seems to be happy with the way things have turned out.

All it took was a little patience.

Enfield has advanced his team to the Elite Eight. 

And Hopkins? 

Well, he and the Huskies ended somewhere near the bottom of the Embarrassing 300-plus.

In a pair of head-to-head meetings with the UW this season, Enfield's Trojans left no doubt where these programs stand, winning 95-68 in Los Angeles and 69-54 in Seattle.

Such is the fickleness of college basketball.

One moment, you're the answer to everyone's problems; the next, you're everyone's problem.

Enfield has his Trojans pursuing a national championship; Hopkins has his guys trying to stay out of the conference cellar.

Enfield has an overabundance of capable players; Hopkins had half of his Huskies walk away from him last week.

Enfield has won 22 games in four of his past 5 seasons; Hopkins has lost 34 of his last 43 games. 

Enfield has talent-rich Los Angeles to sift through; Hopkins just went all the way to Africa in search of help.

Washington, as Whicker pointed out, tried to find its own Enfield once when it hired Andy Russo from Louisiana Tech way back in 1985 to replace Marv Harshman. 

It didn't work.

Russo got fired after four seasons.

Now Enfield, a proven big-school coach with Florida Gulf Coast just a forgettable line on his resume, is thriving after eight seasons, building a destination program at USC as West Coast basketball enjoys a resurgence.

As for Hopkins, he generously received a fifth year at Washington after a 5-21 campaign and the disturbing roster exodus and is under intense pressure to fix his mess. 

He'll be sorely challenged to earn a sixth season in Seattle.

A Division I college coach once said you need to change jobs every six or seven years to survive, if for no other reason than the fans tend to get tired of you. 

He did that — and then he stayed too long at the next place and got fired.

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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