September 5, 2013 by Darian Nourian
On Wednesday, a group of lucky USC students in Professor Jeff Fellenzer’s Sports, Business And Media in Today’s Society class were able to get up close and personal with Andy Enfield, who visited the class a guest speaker. In the discussion, Fellenzer asked Enfield questions ranging from how he started his coaching career, his successful business ventures and Enfield’s incredible shooting prowess. All in all, students were given a much more in-depth look at Enfield, taking a deeper look into his personal life and past accomplishments.
The theme of the lecture, according to Fellenzer, was “Building for Success”. Enfield depicts this theme perfectly not only for what he is trying to do with the USC men’s basketball program, but as an individual and the triumphs he went through to get where he is today.
“Building a successful basketball program is a lot like building a successful business,” Enfield said. “Any personal business goal is for the greater good of a group of team goals.”
Many don’t know that Enfield started as a businessman before chasing his aspirations to become a head basketball coach. After graduating from Johns Hopkins with a degree in economics, he went on to work for an Arthur Anderson-run consulting group. He didn’t enjoy his position there, so he quit after a year and went to the University of Maryland, his so-called dream school, to get his MBA. Enfield would then found his first company, All-Net Basketball, which put on basketball camps that focused particularly on shooting.
He would eventually move to Manhattan, where he evolved his company into consulting and had two-year gigs as an NBA shooting coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
At the time, Enfield was known as the “shot doctor”. The moniker comes from his immaculate collegiate shooting percentage at Johns Hopkins, where he shot 92.5 percent from the free throw line.
“A great shooting stroke is a lot like having a good golf swing; it takes practice,” Enfield said.
The Division III All-American holds 18 school records at Johns Hopkins, including most career points with 2,025. Enfield was inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
While basketball was Enfield’s passion, his business savvy led him to be hired as the vice president of finance at TractManager, a healthcare software startup, in 2000. He worked there for five years, playing an integral role in taking the company off the ground and building it for success. Enfield still owns stock in the company, which is worth over $100 million today.
“Sports and business are the same,” he said. “One has to learn to sell his or her self along with the product or company in business. And during the journey, it’s important to be creative and just get it done. Here, we have to see our basketball program and create a market for USC basketball.”
Being involved in both the sports and business realms, Enfield offered some principles of advise in order for one to build for success.
“Be persistent and develop your brand,” Enfield said. “Even when I was in business, I kept my hand on basketball for a part-time basis, kept my connections, and now I am living the dream here as a basketball coach for one of the premier athletic programs in the country.”
A helpful anecdote Enfield offered in order to depict his advice had to do with something as a simple as the car he was driving back when he was still trying to make a name for himself. He said that he used to drive a Toyota Corolla, but then determined that if people were going to take him seriously, he should make a good first impression. So, Enfield went off and bought a brand new Lexus sports car.
“People definitely started to think more highly of me with my Lexus,” he said. “Although I didn’t have the money, I learned that first impressions mean everything and the way one presents himself initially to his or her peers is the most important thing.”
For instance, Enfield had great first impressions of Los Angeles when he was given the nod to replace Kevin O’Neill last April.
“The week after I was hired, I was on Jay Leno with Charlie Sheen and Brad Paisley. Welcome to LA,” Enfield laughed.
As someone who promotes networking and establishing relationships, Enfield is a big fan of the alumni network and the sense of familiarity at USC.
“The Trojan family is real,” he said. “The alumni support and enthusiasm is amazing and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
As a businessman and a coach, Enfield is already working on different ways to promote USC men’s basketball to the student body. He did so to the class by comparing his team to the up-and-coming Los Angeles Clippers.
“Like the Clippers, we are an exciting and up and coming team to watch with young and talented players,” said Enfield. “People want to come see excitement and have fun rooting for USC, while the product on the floor is also entertaining to watch.
Los Angeles could possibly have “Lob City” and “Dunk City” this year, and Enfield attests this to the way he runs his offensive system.
“We are going to play fun and fast,” said Enfield. “We will spread the floor in a San Antonio Spurs-like half-court offense and just try to put up 70 plus points a game. We will also be pushing the ball in the open court a lot because not enough teams across the country are doing so.”
In regards to a question about his defensive philosophy, Enfield had a more simple answer. “Don’t let the other team score.”
He is not only popular with his players because of his playing style, but also for his coaching style.
“It’s pretty easy to play for me,” Enfield said on earning his coaches trust. “I just ask for our players to go to class and be a student, engage the student body on campus, show up to practice and play hard, and care for each other as teammates.”
Like he did during his time at Johns Hopkins and in the business world, Enfield’s goal at USC to create “something special.” So far, he looks well on his way.