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FGCU coach Andy Enfield has taken his shots and made the most of them
Andy Enfield draws inspiration from Wayne Gretzky. A sign bearing a quote from the greatest hockey player of all time and four-time Stanley Cup champion hangs above the head basketball coach’s office at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
Enfield hasn’t passed up a whole lot of shots in his life, whether they’ve come on the basketball court, on the sideline as a coach or on Wall Street as a businessman. And he has enjoyed his fair share of success along the way, making millions of dollars as an entrepreneur, marrying a supermodel and most recently leading FGCU to the Sweet 16.
“I take those shots. I’ve failed numerous times,” Enfield said. “I don’t look at my life as charmed. I do feel very blessed to have a wonderful wife and three children and be in a position where I have a good job, and I’m having a lot of fun. This is what I wanted to do: be a Division I basketball coach.”
A self-made millionaire, Enfield chose FGCU to build a program, almost from scratch. His vision didn’t specifically include becoming the first No. 15 seed to reach the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 in just his second year at the helm. He sold a “vision of success,” without any time frame or specifics.
It’s easy to justify faith in Enfield given his track record. A 1991 graduate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he set the NCAA record for career free throw percentage, he earned an MBA in finance from Maryland and had a hand in several businesses.
All Net Basketball and All Net Shooting kept him involved in the game through consulting and video, and he served as an NBA assistant under Mike Dunleavy with the Milwaukee Bucks and Rick Pitino with the Boston Celtics.
While a part of the Celtics‘ staff, Enfield met supermodel Amanda Marcum through a mutual friend, beginning an improbable romance with a ride from New York to Boston for an Oklahoma State game. Marcum grew up in Oklahoma and had tickets to see the Cowboys play in the NIT, so Enfield offered to drive.
“What a sacrifice she has made to give up, from flying all over the world to doing fashion shoots for some of the biggest designers on the planet to moving to Tallahassee, Fla., which is a nice place, but it’s not New York and it’s not Milan and it’s not Sydney and it’s not Paris,” the 43-year-old Enfield said.
Neither is Fort Myers, where FGCU became a Division I team only six years ago and lost 20 games the season before Enfield arrived. Now the Eagles are set to play No. 3 seed Florida in Arlington, Texas, on Friday night with a chance to add to the best story of this NCAA tournament.
“It’s just a great feeling, so proud of these players, what they’ve been through for the last two years,” Enfield said. “It really speaks volumes. No tears yet, but maybe in the future.”
The wild celebration in the FGCU locker room Sunday night in Philadelphia after knocking off San Diego State included Enfield jumping around and getting doused in whatever drinks his players could find.
Players rave about Enfield’s communication skills. He’s not a yeller, but he’s a self-acknowledged “CEO of a program,” able to manage the job and people at the same time. Enfield likes to keep it light, but players know what not to talk about.
“I don’t joke around with him about his wife. He does control my play time,” junior forward Chase Fieler said. “We try and take his background [into account]. He’s the shooting percentage leader, so we know he’s a great shooting coach. He has the background in the NBA. So just taking that experience that he’s had, even being on Wall Street, being a business major, he’s helped us a lot with what the schooling can do for us.”
Enfield also has the experience of winning in life, something he was able to transfer over to players when he took over at FGCU.
“The year before he came in, I scored 11 points my entire season, sat on the bench a lot. And he came in and he said, ‘We’re going to try to build something here, and we really think that you can help us,’” redshirt senior forward Eddie Murray said. “Everything he’s done has been awesome, gave me confidence. Just the locker room, we’ve had a better feeling ever since he came in.”
Enfield will be a hot name for head coaching vacancies at bigger programs, much like Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart. Whether he decides to cash in on this NCAA tournament success and ensuing stardom or continues to “aim for the stars” at FGCU, Enfield isn’t likely to be far from the spotlight.
But he bristles at the notion of his impressive life story making him college basketball’s version of the most interesting man in the world.
“I’m not that interesting. I’m a pretty simple person,” Enfield said. “It is a little chaotic around my household at times with three small children, and being a basketball coach is not an easy profession from a weird hours and weekends and holidays. But as far as being interesting, I would say I’m way down the list.”
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