April 2, 2013 at 6:15 AM
USC hires Andy Enfield
After two years at Florida Gulf Coast, Andy Enfield cashed in after guiding the Eagles to an incredible run in the NCAA tournament and took the USC job that’s been vacant for 2 1/2 months.
In a statement released by the school, Enfield said: I am looking forward to bringing an exciting, up-tempo style of play to USC and building the men’s basketball brand into one that the fans and basketball community will enjoy and respect.”
A few weeks ago only basketball insiders were familiar with Enfield, 43, who has been coaching in college for the past 15 years. He’s a former assistant at Florida State and worked for Rick Pitino with the Boston Celtics. As a player, he was the all-time Division III free-throw percentage leader, making 92% of his attempts.
Enfield’s popularity grew quickly during the tournament as FGCU upset No. 2 Georgetown in the opener and No. 7 San Diego State in the Round of 32 game to become the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. Many fans were captivated by the Eagles’ up-tempo offense known as “Dunk City.”
Suddenly the coach who had a 41-28 record and making $157,000 a year at FGCU became a hot commodity. He spoke with Minnesota on Monday about its coaching vacancy before taking the USC job and a six-year contract worth that will reportedly pay him as much as $1 million annually.
USC athletic director Pat Haden said: “Andy’s success this season at Florida Gulf Coast was not a flash in the pan. He has a consistent and proven record of success for more than 15 years in college and the NBA. He is a respected teacher who develops his players on the court and sees them excel in the classroom, he is a noted shooting coach, he is a relentless recruiter and he has integrity and great character.
“Those in the basketball world have known of his abilities for a while. His brand of basketball — an up-tempo offense and a stingy defense — is fun for players to play and fans to watch. He is an excellent fit at USC who will resonate well with our players, our fans and our community.”
Enfield replaces Kevin O’Neill who had a 41-65 record in 3 1/2 years. He was 7-10 this season before being fired. Interim Bob Cantu stepped in and posted an 7-8 record for the Trojans, which lost five of the last seven games and finished 14-18.
USC filled the last coaching vacancy in the Pac-12. UCLA is expected to formally announce new coach Steve Alford today.