Enfield: ‘No words’ for FGCU players
by Seth Soffian, USA TODAY Sports
Without divulging the timeline of his communications with USC and agreement to become its new men’s basketball coach, outgoing FGCU coach Andy Enfield this morning called it too great of a personal and professional opportunity to pass up despite his success at and affinity for FGCU.
The former Florida State and NBA assistant coach pointed to USC’s academic and athletic reputation and the credentials of USC athletic director Pat Haden, a former Rhodes Scholar, partner in a private equity firm and winner of two national championships as a quarterback at USC in the 1970s.
“USC is an amazing place,” Enfield said this morning from his office in Alico Arena on FGCU’s campus. “I thought that it doesn’t get any better than Pat Haden as an athletic director and the opportunity to work at a prestigious university like USC.”
Enfield, who leaves FGCU two years into a five-year agreement that made him a head coach for the first time, met with his players and staff just before midnight Monday night as his agreement to become the USC coach was being announced. The meeting was emotional for all involved, Enfield said.
“That’s the most difficult part is telling your players that you won’t be their coach next year,” Enfield said. “We were extremely close. Our whole staff is extremely close with our players. Our players have a special bond among themselves. It’s never easy, and there are no words. You really can’t say the right thing.”
FGCU, which reached the Sweet 16 in only its second season with Division-I postseason legibility and became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to win more than one game, returned to Southwest Florida on Saturday afternoon after losing to Florida in Dallas the night before.
Enfield, who wouldn’t confirm or refute reports of his contact with Minnesota and Old Dominion regarding coaching vacancies there as well, said he “met” with Haden but had not visited USC. He would not disclose when the meeting took place.
“It’s confidential,” said Enfield, who is scheduled to fly out tonight for California and be introduced as USC’s coach on Wednesday.