Andy Enfield: “I’ve Been Preparing for This Day My Entire Life”

April 4, 2013 – 9:00 am by Chris Fedor

Hot wife? Check. Become the story of the NCAA tournament with huge upsets? Check. Parlay that into a big-time coaching job at a major conference? Check. Former Florida Gulf Coast head coach Andy Enfield is living the dream right now. The former Wall Street worker captured the nation’s attention in the NCAA tournament when his Eagles belted Georgetown and ended up going to the Sweet 16. It put the program on the map, it led to him becoming the flavor of the month and it led to numerous schools calling his agent wondering whether he would leave FGCU. Well he has.

Enfield accepted the head coaching job with USC. He will be charged with turning a program that has been overshadowed by football for years into one that consistently competes in the Pac 12. The challenge will be tough and Enfield is making a major leap. The media attention will be high and so will the pressure. He has a unique style of coaching. He likes things to be fun, uptempo, high-flying and free. It worked at FGCU. Can it work at USC?

Andy Enfield joined The Mighty 1090 in San Diego with Darren Smith to talk about his last two weeks, whether this run has been a dream come true for him, if he would’ve gotten this kind of gig had he not beaten Georgetown, when he started hearing from other programs and if he is ready for the spotlight of USC.

On his last two weeks:

“It’s pretty special. To take FGCU to the Sweet 16 and see what it has done for that University and the communities of Florida, I will never forget. It has been amazing. Then to be hired as coach at such a premiere academic institution with an unparalleled sports tradition and program here at USC, it’s just a dream and I’m so excited to start.”

Whether it has been a dream come true:

“Yeah, it’s been overwhelming. When you prepare for a conference tournament, the NCAA tournament the first two rounds and then come out here and go through the interview process, I haven’t slept more than three hours in a particular night in about three or four weeks. It’s adrenaline, it’s excitement that keeps you going. There’s nothing more stressful than preparing for an NCAA tournament games and especially the Sweet 16. We’ve been scrutinized, my wife and I in the media for two weeks. It’s flattering but it’s not about us. It’s about our team and our program. At the same time just take a deep breath here eventually and realize what we accomplished at FGCU and also reflect on what a special opportunity I have at USC.”

What are the odds you and I are having this conversation if you had lost to Georgetown?

“Zero. (Host: So it starts with Georgetown. You think if that doesn’t happen you are still the head coach at FGCU?) I don’t know, but the fact that we built a program in two years and won 24 games, we won 26 games now at the end of the season but before the Georgetown win it was 24 games. We had just beaten Mercer on the home court and we were 15-0 at home. We had an exceptional year. We beat Miami this year. I was not looking to necessarily change jobs because we have everyone coming back with the exception of two players. We had two transfers sitting out from Georgia Tech and Marquette so FGCU is going to win 20-something games next year and I knew that we are building a great program, but then we beat Georgetown in an uptempo and fun style of play. Then we beat San Diego State the same way with scoring 81 points. Now we’re in the Sweet 16 and things change when you get to the Sweet 16 on a national level. I never imagined we would be in a Sweet 16 but at the same time we knew we could get there. We made a point to prepare for the game. We knew we could beat Georgetown if we played well. We prepared to do so. We said the same against San Diego State. Even though it was a surprise to get there in year two, it wasn’t a shocker to me because I know how good our players are. There was a dramatic improvement in skill level from the first year to the second.”

When he started hearing from other programs:

“I have a representative and he has done a great job of taking care of all the calls. My message was, I’m not meeting with or seriously discussing any job opening until after the season. if anyone wants a face-to-face meeting it won’t be until after we lose our final game and then we can at least have conversations and set up meeting if that was the desired result so he was a very busy man after we lost to Florida in the Sweet 16. His phone was non-stop for about a day and a half. I wanted to come work at USC. I thought this was a great opportunity. The future here is going to be tremendous. When I sat down with Pat Haden, the AD, he just sold me. That was it. He’s a genuine person, he’s a football superstar, he’s been around this campus and he just bleeds USC. What a great academic institution with unbelievable support from the community and the athletic programs. This is a national school and a national brand and we just have to do our part as a basketball staff to create a national, USC basketball brand.”

Whether he is ready to be in a major market:

“I’ve been preparing for this day my entire life. I was fortunate to work for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State to really understand how to build a quality program at a football school with a great national reputation like Florida State and then got my chance as a head coach to go in and use those skills to develop the program. I’m looking forward to this opportunity. This is an amazing place. I love Los Angeles. My brother has lived here for 15 years. Visited here numerous times. Recruited out here. I couldn’t be happier. My family wants to live here. We’re excited.”

Listen to Andy Enfield on The Mighty 1090 in SD here

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