|Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
COACH ENFIELD AND THE EAGLES: SHOCK OF THE TOURNEY?
Did you hear the one where the small school with their coach making $ 157K a year whipped a powerhouse with a name brand coach knocking down two million a year. Don’t ask me to do the math, it’s just as shocking when you compare ages of the two schools; one, Florida Gulf Coast University, is a teenager -16 – while the other, Georgetown, at 224 years, is our oldest Catholic University.
You’re saying it’s about time the teenagers took it to the priests.
That’s what you love about the NCAA Tourney, the surprises. In this case it wasn’t just that the Eagles beat the Hoyas, it was how they did it. The Eagles flew around the gym and the Hoyas looked as ground bound as ummm… bulldogs. I know it’s a mascot comparison but it couldn’t be more apt. The Eagles were scoring on rebound dunks and alley oops stunning the Hoyas. And get this, the Eagles were doing it with white guys (somewhere, ironically and deliciously, Wesley Snipes’ prison trousers are burning) and doing it against the school that produced Allen Iverson, Jeff Green, Patrick Ewing, Greg Monroe and Dikembe Mutumbo.
More shocking stuff? The little Ft. Myers school has an arena only holding 4500. Even more shocking, the Eagles supremely confident coach – Andy Enfield – told his players before the game they were better than Georgetown. How’s that for upstart? He devised a defense to subdue the Princeton offense. Can you appreciate that, a little community school taking down an offense named after and devised at one of our top schools of higher learning? That’s almost as rich as Key Lime pie, which I hear you can get plenty near Ft. Myers.
Where did Coach Enfield get that kind of audacity, to tell his players they were equal to the Big East champ? Perhaps because he could evaluate players, when he was considered the best recruiting assistant coach in the country at Florida State? Perhaps because he knows shooting, where he improved the shooting of every team he coached including the Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks, and his business – All-Net Basketball — coached over 100 NBA players? Enfield still holds the NCAA free throw career record at 92.5% from his playing days at Johns Hopkin. It also doesn’t hurt if you took two Florida State centers and turned them from 50 % free throw shooters into players hitting 80 and 90% from the line. Is that enough to boost your confidence in shooting evaluation and strategy planning? Yeah, and if you also helped develop a contract management company called TractManager into a $ 100 million dollar start up, it doesn’t hurt.
Here’s a guy with an economics degree and an MBA who could’ve stayed comfortable and wealthy on Wall Street but was confident he could achieve greatness in the gym. Forget the fact he wooed and married a super model wife, forget the fact he took a start-up business to great heights, forget the fact he was considered one of the best assistant coaches in the country and consider this: He beat mighty Georgetown… the big bulldog… and did it with a puppy. He did it with under-evaluated two star recruits and a Kenneth Faried lookalike point guard. He left Georgetown coach John Thompson III exasperated and sputtering during his press conference. This isn’t supposed to happen. But when it does, when the pup wins and the school whose most famous alumni is a monster truck driver beats the school who produced governors and presidents, you have to say “This is too much fun!”