In Dunk City, Florida, the phones are ringing off the hook for Andy Enfield, the man in charge of the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16. And although it might seem like an unwise decision to hire a coach whose resume looks at surface level to be comprised of two freakish games in the NCAA Tournament, the 43-year-old coach has one of the most interesting backstories of any coach in college basketball.
If you didn't know who Andy Enfield was last week, we can't blame you. When his team tipped off in their first game against No. 2 Georgetown, he didn't even have a Wikipedia page, which is essentially the base entry point for being a notable human being.
If you don't know who Andy Enfield is now, well, we're sorry. You've missed out on one of the more exciting Cinderella stories the NCAA Tournament has ever produced. But, just to get you guys acquainted, he's the one being hoisted and spritzed with what looks like a combination of Dasani and Sprite in this GIF.
I've fallen in love. I first wrote about FGCU a week before the tourney started, as part of my crawl through teams that have never made the NCAA Tournament, and every day I've become more and more infatuated with crazy dunks, crazy celebrations and the crazy story of a coach who has done crazy things at every stop on his journey, both inside and outside of basketball.
For the first eight years of Florida Gulf Coast's basketball history, they weren't eligible for the NCAA Tournament, as the school that started offering classes in 1997 transitioned towards being a Division I school. Their first coach was Dave Balza, who made the team competitive at the Division II level before floundering after the school moved up. After a 10-20 season in 2010-11, Balza was fired, and the school looked for a new coach in their first year of postseason eligibility.
They decided on a guy who had never been a head coach before in Enfield. Although he'd never been in charge of a program, Enfield had been successful at pretty much everything else he tried in life.
Enfield's basketball career started in the late 1980s playing for Division III Johns Hopkins, a school known more for its elite academics and weirdly dominant men's lacrosse team than hoops. Enfield left as the school's all-time leading scorer, leading the team in points per game all four seasons at the school, and set the NCAA record for best career free throw percentage, hitting 92.5 percent from the charity stripe. That's since been broken, but the record is a testament to Enfield's impressive drive. There's no feat that says less about one's innate basketball ability and more about one's desire to spend insane hours of your life alone in a gym than free throw percentage. And yes, the nerditry was there: Enfield was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
The econ major then enrolled at Maryland, earning an MBA and paying for it by operating various basketball camps. It was something he was pretty good at: three years out of Hopkins, Enfield became the shooting coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. He spent six years as an NBA assistant with the Bucks and Boston Celtics.
It was during his time with the Celtics that he met his wife, Amanda Marcum, who used to be a supermodel appearing in Maxim and Vogue, among other outlets. And their first date? It was at Taco Bell. That's pretty awesome! I want to marry a supermodel who doesn't mind a Doritos Locos Taco as well! But, well, everything else about Enfield is pretty awesome, too, right?
And that's where his resume completely stops following that of any other basketball coach. Enfield left the Celtics in 2000 to begin his career as an Internet entrepreneur. He co-founded TractManager, a startup that helps health care and real estate businesses manage personnel contracts. Enfield left the company, which has been valued at $100 million, in 2006 to take an assistant job at Florida State. So, he's a basketball coach, but if for some reason he doesn't really want to do that anymore, he can fall back on his $100 million tech startup. (Update: Darren Rovell claims that reports of Enfield's wealth have been exaggerated, although Enfield has said he still holds an undisclosed-sized stake in TractManager.)
After five years at Florida State, Enfield took the head gig at FGCU. Saying his two years have been an unmitigated success is an understatement.
Read Tim Layden's profile of Enfield over at SI. Enfield took Sherwood Brown, a walk-on, and Bernard Thompson, a guy who shot jumpers with two hands, and made them into the Atlantic Sun player of the year and Atlantic Sun defensive player of the year, respectively. He recruited Brett Comer, whose crazy passing skills and occasional scoring have been on display in the team's first two games. He turned Eddie Murray, who scored 11 points the entire season before Enfield arrived, into the guy who scored nine against Georgetown. He took Chase Fieler, whom Layden writes couldn't complete his first workout under Enfield without trying to vomit, into a guy capable of throwing down thunderous jams on anybody and everybody in his path. He took a team that lost twice as many games as they won in 2010-11 and brought them to the conference championship game the next season.
In 2012-13, he won that conference championship game. And then he beat Georgetown. And then he beat San Diego State. And who knows what's next?
Nobody, and that's what makes Andy Enfield's future so interesting. He's clearly done an amazing job at FGCU. He didn't just find good players and institute successful coaching strategies, which is all you can ask out of a head coach; he literally makes players better with his shooting expertise and knowledge of the technical aspects of basketball. He's turned a team nobody heard of into a national buzzword after two years of crazy success. He's, like, super damn smart. And he's young and exciting, and will be able to land recruits at will. Sounds like an amazing hire, right UCLA?
Sure. But Enfield could be tough to lure. Sure, bigger programs have more name recognition and more to offer. But in his own way, Andy Enfield sort of has everything he wants in Fort Myers, Florida. He's built this team from scratch on this build-from-scratch campus with beaches on it, and somehow, it's worked out. And although any school on the market can out-pay FGCU, Enfield might not be sold on your money. Remember that thing about him owning stake in a $100 million tech company? That $1 million a year raise you're offering is cute.
Before speculating about Enfield going to Pauley Pavilion or taking any other job that opens in the next few days, let's focus on the most interesting part of the most interesting story in college basketball: Andy Enfield's immediate future. Friday, the Eagles will take on Florida. They're playing with house money, and you know what? They're sort of good. They could give Florida a show. And from there, who knows.