Max Analysis: Ten Reasons Why USC Hiring Andy Enfield Was The Better Move Than UCLA Hiring Steve Alford

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April 1, 2013 by Max Meyer

By Max Meyer

USC hired Florida Gulf Coast University’s head coach Andy Enfield on Monday night, and it’s no April Fools joke. Enfield signed a six-year deal to replace interim coach Bob Cantu as the basketball coach of the Trojans. This was after Enfield engineered one of the biggest Cinderella stories in NCAA history, as his #15-seeded FGCU men’s basketball team made it to the Sweet 16. The financial numbers are not known yet, but it’s presumed Enfield will be making over $1 million per season.

The hire came just three days after UCLA shocked the world by hiring University of New Mexico’s Steve Alford. However, here are ten reasons why USC won the coaching battle against their cross-town rival.

1. Enfield’s dedication for the game. Andy Enfield set the NCAA Division III record for highest career free throw percentage at 92.5 percent. This shows that he has a tireless work ethic towards the game, because he spent countless hours in the gym practicing free throws. Free throw shooting is one of the few areas in the game that can be improved by practicing, it cannot be helped by a basketball player’s athleticism alone.

2. Enfield is extremely intelligent. He graduated Shippensburg High School as his class valedictorian. Enfield was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches at John Hopkins. He received his Master’s degree at the University of Maryland. Oh, and he was involved in the founding of a company that was valued at $100 million.

3. Enfield has more NBA experience than Alford. He spent six years as an NBA special assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. For both of these teams, he was the shooting coach, and referred to himself as “the shot doctor”. It also doesn’t hurt that while he was on the Celtics, the head coach at the time was current Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

4. Enfield has guts. He took his future wife and former supermodel on a first date to Taco Bell. Yes, he took a woman who appeared in Maxim and Vogue to a Mexican fast-food chain. He had the guts to take the head coaching position at Florida Gulf Coast University, becoming their second coach ever. Before he took the position, he was a highly-regarded assistant at Florida State University, in which the team made the NCAA tournament in three of the five years he was there.

5. Enfield’s love of the game. He helped to build TractManager, a company that, according to their website, “helps organizations improve their visibility, control contractual obligations, enhance compliance and streamline workflow.” He left that company, which has been valued at $100 million, to take an assistant coach position with Florida State. He could have been a business success story, but instead realized that his passion and love will always be for basketball.

6. Enfield’s a master of turning nothing into something. He helped create the startup company TractManager. He gave a Florida Gulf Coast University basketball program hope after just two seasons. It is unbelievably hard to start a D-1 program from scratch, and Enfield did it in just two seasons after moving up from Division II basketball. He went 41-28 over those two years, and even made the the championship of the Atlantic Sun tournament in his first season. Now, he may have his easiest task yet in attempting to revitalize USC basketball.

7. Enfield’s postseason resume is already better than Alford’s. Steve Alford has made one Sweet 16 in 18 years coaching. Andy Enfield has also made one Sweet 16 in just two years coaching. Despite having 16 fewer coaching seasons than Alford, Enfield only has three fewer March Madness Victories.

Enfield engineered one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history as his #15-seeded team beat #2-seed Georgetown. Alford is known around college basketball for consistently being upset in the first round (or technically now, the second round) of March Madness.

8. Alford’s loyalty. Yes, Enfield did leave a rising program that gave him his first opportunity as a head coach. But, he will be believed at Florida Gulf Coast University because he turned around the program.

Alford on the other hand, signed a 10-year extension with University New Mexico  after another early March Madness exit. He said after he signed the extension, “There is no other place I would rather coach than at University of New Mexico.” 10 days later, he signed a 10-year contract with UCLA, backstabbing his team, his recruits and an entire community.

9. Enfield’s coaching style will fill up the seats. Enfield’s up-tempo style was extremely exciting to watch on TV. I could only imagine the high-flying dunks and transition offense will be more exciting to watch in person at the Galen Center. Alford’s slow-paced offense will give UCLA fans nightmares about former coach Ben Howland’s final seasons.

Also, it could impact recruiting because if a recruit was given an ultimatum between playing in Enfield’s offense or Alford’s offense, they may choose the more exciting one.

10. Amanda Enfield now joins Layla Kiffin at USC, creating the most dominant pair of hot coaches’ wives in NCAA history. Even if this dynamic duo lasts less than a season because of Lane Kiffin, it will still be fun to see these two in the stands at athletic events while it lasts.

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