The mayor of Dunk City is trading one coast for the other.
Andy Enfield, whose Florida Gulf Coast team became the first No. 15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16 last week, has agreed to a deal to become USC's next coach. Enfield became the Trojans' top target after they were unable to land Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon and Memphis coach Josh Pastner.
The hire of Enfield provides USC the splashy hire it has sought since athletic director Pat Haden fired former coach Kevin O'Neill in January. Enfield went from anonymity to stardom almost overnight thanks to his supermodel wife, his captivating life story and his team's fearless, high-flying style.
Though Enfield only has two years of experience as a college head coach, his background suggests he'll be able to recruit successfully to USC.
He has NBA ties as an assistant coach and shooting instructor, he thrived at Florida State as Leonard Hamilton's top recruiter and many of Florida Gulf Coast's top players were kids he landed rather than holdovers from the previous regime. Furthermore, his bold, fast-paced style is a contrast to how new UCLA coach Steve Alford's teams traditionally have played, which should help him land some Los Angeles recruits who prefer up tempo basketball.
"Andy has been successful in every area of his life," Haden said in a statement. "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."
If the hire is a risk for USC, it's because Enfield will have to prove he can have longterm success in a high-profile league like the Pac-12 after having short-term success in a bottom-tier league like the Atlantic Sun. Enfield also probably will need time to build West Coast recruiting ties, though he did help get Michael Snaer to Florida State and the hire of an assistant coach familiar with Los Angeles would surely help in that area.
There's no question Enfield's hire will give traditionally bland USC basketball some badly needed pop and pizzazz. Over the coming months and years, we'll find out if that also translates into success in the won-loss column as well.
"In meeting with Pat Haden, I was very impressed with his vision for the men's basketball program," Enfield said in a statement. "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."
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