I guess you can call me a hipster when it comes to Florida Gulf Coast University head coach Andy Enfield.
I was a big fan of his before it was cool.
I didn’t wait for the Eagles to defeat Georgetown, a No. 2 seed, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. No, I didn’t even wait for them to beat the Miami Hurricanes, the champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, by 12 points back on Nov. 13, 2012.
It was long before that when I began to believe in Enfield.
He was an assistant coach during my tenure at Florida State. When he was hired by the Seminoles back in 2006, he was marketed as the guy who could solve FSU’s woes at the free-throw line. It was true — within a year, Enfield had greatly improved the team’s free-throw percentage, and it was no longer a liability when one of our players went to the line. We could actually hold a lead when opponents were intentionally fouling in the final seconds of a game, and that was sweet.
Now, Enfield is the darling of the NCAA Tournament in just his second year at FGCU — his first head coaching job. He has kids that can dunk, kids that can shoot and kids that can win. Their beatdown of Georgetown might have been surprising, but it wasn’t a fluke.
FGCU’s ascent to rarified air as one of the best 32 basketball teams in the country has happened, essentially, overnight. The roster has players that are older than the university. Founded in 1991 in Fort Myers, FGCU didn’t even have classes until 1997. Their basketball team didn’t join Division I until 2007. The word “meteoric” hardly describes it.
Oh, and their dorms look like this:
Now, they have a chance to be one of the most unlikely Sweet 16 teams ever, if they can defeat San Diego State on Sunday night. Historically, No. 15 seeds don’t have a lot of luck in this position.
Florida Gulf Coast looking to defy numbers– No. 15 seeds are 0-6 all-time in Round of 32, losing by an average of 15.0 PPG
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2013
However, I believe in Andy Enfield. And you should, too.