On Monday evening, the USC Trojans made a brilliant move to poach Andy Enfield from Florida Gulf Coast University on a six-year deal, according to ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz via Twitter. The deal is worth “well over $1 million a year,” per ESPN.com.
While some may view this as a desperation move to restore a slumping program by hiring a coach that attained brief success with a small-time program in the 2013 NCAA tournament, Enfield absolutely deserves this big-time deal for his body of work over a long career in the field.
The 43-year-old not only went 41-28 during his two-season tenure at the helm of the Eagles (2011-13), but he also spent five years as an assistant to Leonard Hamilton with the Florida State Seminoles (2006-11), two years as an assistant with the Boston Celtics (1998-2000) and two years as a shooting coach with the Milwaukee Bucks (1994-1996).
Enfield guided his FGCU squad to an Atlantic Sun Conference title, a No. 15 seed in the 2013 NCAA March Madness and upsets over No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State before being bounced by No. 3 Florida.
The Eagles—who aptly earned the moniker “Dunk City” for their high-flying, run-and-gun style of play during the tourney—captured the hearts of fans everywhere, and Enfield quickly became one of the hottest coaching candidates for their success.
Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press reported that the Minnesota Golden Gophers were also after Enfield’s services before he struck a deal with the Trojans on Monday.
However, the Trojans moved quickly and locked up the coach to fill the vacancy left by Kevin O’Neill—fired in January for his lack of success and replaced by an ineffective Bob Cantu in the interim.
The program hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 2011, but could quickly find itself in contention for the always wide-open Pac-12 title and be back in March Madness in short order.
Enfield is going to shake up the recruiting landscape out West and bring some credibility to a Trojans team that sorely needs it. His exciting brand of basketball meshes well in Southern California and he should be a huge hit in short order.