The feud between Tim Floyd and Andy Enfield isn't over just because UTEP and USC won't play each-other at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Floyd ensured that Thursday night when he lashed out at Enfield anew during his press conference following UTEP's upset victory over Tennessee. The Miners coach once again accused Enfield of tampering with prized UTEP recruit Isaac Hamilton and also addressed the heated argument between the two staffs Wednesday night and disparaging comments Enfield made about the city of El Paso.
“I felt like there was some tampering going on with our McDonald’s All-American, as former," Floyd said, as transcribed by the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "Sure enough three months later he has USC on his Facebook page, backed out of his Letter of Intent. I called and we discussed it in a very serious vein. I said not to turn him in and they wouldn’t take him. But we didn’t end up with him, and that was a lick.
"And in addition to that I damn sure didn’t appreciate the comments he made last week publicly about the city of El Paso, Texas, where my grandparents were born and raised, where my father was born and raised and played at Texas Western, where I’ve lived 22 years in my life. It’s a fabulous city. My reaction yesterday was more about the city of El Paso than the previous part. I’ll just leave it at that.
"Beyond that I’m not going to have any more comments down the road. But we’re not going to sit back and just take it in shorts. We’re not going to do it. We’re not going to do it. We’ve done it enough. His comments in that damn magazine were totally inappropriate. Totally inappropriate. So that’s all I’ve got to say, alright?
"And as far as him saying he was just trying to apologize yesterday? It would have been really nice if he apologized about three weeks ago, when that magazine article came out. Call me and try to do it then. His timing wasn’t very good. It was too late."
Hostilities erupted between UTEP and USC in July when Floyd first made accusations against Enfield after Hamilton sought a release from his letter of intent without ever playing a game for the Miners. Enfield denied the tampering charges and insisted USC had no interest in Hamilton, a Los Angeles native who has since enrolled at UCLA and is sitting out the season.
The issue appeared to be dead until an article on Enfield in the December issue of Men's Journal contained the following jab at Floyd. Said Enfield to a group of USC boosters, "Tim Floyd shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas. And he's pissed off that he didn't get the USC job two months ago. I told him, 'Tim, if I could have all this power to somehow convince a family to do this, why the heck didn't the kid come last spring, when I first got the job?'"
Those comments paved the way for a confrontation between the two staffs at the Battle 4 Atlantis pre-tournament banquet on Wednesday night.
SI.com's Seth Davis was the only media member to witness the incident and he reported it began when Enfield approached Floyd to apologize only to have the UTEP coach rebuff his attempts. The conversation escalated into a shouting match, assistant coaches from both sides approached and pretty soon USC's Tony Bland had to be restrained from going after former USC and current UTEP assistant Bob Cantu.
There was a chance USC and UTEP could meet on the final day of the Battle 4 Atlantis, but the two teams spoiled that on Thursday.
The Trojans lost as expected to Villanova, but the Miners outplayed Tennessee. Floyd was instrumental in his team's victory, going with an unusually big starting lineup and utilizing a triangle-and-two to keep the more talented Vols in check.
It's a bummer that we won't get to see the UTEP and USC staffs square off on the floor, but Floyd's press conference was a nice consolation prize. Perhaps on Friday, Enfield will have a response.