By now, we've all heard of Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield. After all, he is a sportswriter's dream. From the supermodel wife, to his personal fortune, all the way to his team's Cinderella run into the Sweet 16 and a date with powerhouse Florida; there's a ton to like about Enfield.
But with his intriguing past and downright fun-to-watch team, it's easy to forget about the bright future he surely has in store for himself in college basketball. He's become a household name in the hoops world solely based on two wins, and fair or not, that could make him a ton of money. All you have to do to see why is look at the other coaches remaining in the tournament.
Later this week, 1,300 miles northeast of Dallas, where Florida Gulf Coast will meet the Gators, Jim Larranaga will lead his second-seeded Miami Hurricanes into a Sweet 16 game against No. 3 Marquette in Washington, D.C. How did Larranaga get to Miami, where he turned a mediocre basketball program into a team that could very well win the National Championship?
Rewind the clock seven years. In the Verizon Center, the very same building Miami will play in on Thursday, Larranaga's George Mason team upset Connecticut, the No. 1 overall seed, to advance to the program's first Final Four. The No. 11 Patriots also beat Michigan State, North Carolina and Wichita State along the way.
The team struggled the next year after losing its top three scorers to graduation, but rebounded to make the postseason each of the next four seasons as Larranaga stayed on the national stage.
The result? He was hired by Miami out of the ACC prior to the 2011-12 season.
Bill Self, now at No. 1 seed Kansas, followed a similar path. He was on the sidelines for Tulsa when the Golden Hurricane made their surprising Elite Eight run in 1999-2000. The next year, he found himself at Illinois, then eventually Kansas when the Jayhawks came calling in 2003-04.
Sean Miller with No. 6 seeded Arizona? Same thing. He led Xavier to an Elite Eight appearance in 2008, then back to the Sweet 16 the next year, making him one of the hottest coaching commodities in the country. When the Wildcats needed a talented young coach to serve as the long-term replacement for Hall of Famer Lute Olson, Miller was the easy choice.
So today, with the UCLA and Minnesota jobs open and names like Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens dominating the conversation (both of whom led Cinderallas on magical tournament runs), there is always room on the coaching carousel for one more leader of an upstart Cinderella.
Enfield won't go chasing the money. He has plenty of that. It's also tough to find a better campus than FGCU. But the chance to coach at a major program where the resources are plentiful and the TV checks bountiful? Who would want to pass that up? He might not be on the short list in Westwood or Minneapolis, but if there's a Big East team from Indianapolis that needs a coach, or a group of guys that need someone to keep havoc alive (and force the tempo on offense, which the Eagles love to do), Enfield is a very attractive candidate.
Whether or not it happens this year, Enfield certainly appears to be on a familiar road to the big leagues.