Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield is reportedly drawing strong interest from the USC Trojans and Minnesota Golden Gophers, according to ESPN's Andy Katz.
USC and Minnesota both showing strong interest in FGCU's Andy Enfield, according to a source with direct knowledge.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) April 1, 2013
Enfield is one of the hottest potential coaching targets this offseason, as he guided his FGCU Eagles on an unprecedented run to the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA tournament as a No. 15 seed—notably knocking off No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State before losing to No. 3 Florida.
The 43-year-old has experience as both an NBA (spending time with the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics) and big-time collegiate assistant (working for five years under Leonard Hamilton at Florida State), and he helped turn upstart Florida Gulf Coast into a legitimate contender in just two seasons at the helm.
Enfield’s run-and-gun brand of explosive basketball—which earned his Eagles the moniker of “Dunk City” and helped the tourney's Cinderella capture the hearts of fans everywhere—has proven capable of beating top-tier programs, despite the lack of elite talent on the FGCU roster.
Because of his great success with such little-known talent, Enfield is already drawing a number of big-name suitors—mere days after the Gators eliminated his Eagles in the Sweet 16.
Minnesota fired coach Tubby Smith last Monday, despite his having led the team to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2013. Flip Saunders—former Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards head coach—allegedly turned down an offer from his alma mater to fill the vacant position.
Will Enfield leave FGCU?
Southern California hasn’t made an NCAA tournament appearance since 2011 and struggled out of the gate during the 2012-13 campaign, leading to coach Kevin O’Neill’s dismissal in mid-January. Bob Cantu, the interim replacement, didn’t fare much better as the school finished just 14-18.
Both of these programs are looking to get back on track and need someone that is capable of quickly returning them to prominence. It’s a bit of a risk, but anyone who watched the Eagles soar during the 2013 NCAA tourney knows that Enfield has proven himself the right man for the job.