Florida Gulf Coast is making all his shots

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy Enfield's Florida Gulf Coast University team will face Georgetown on Friday.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy Enfield's Florida Gulf Coast University team will face Georgetown on Friday.
Posted: March 22, 2013

ANDY ENFIELD is the greatest free throw shooter in college basketball history. He was an NBA player development coach. He started a company called "All Net Basketball." He was an assistant at Florida State while the Seminoles were one of the top teams in the ACC. He is in his second season as the head coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, a school that became a school in 1997, went Division I in 2007 and just became eligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2012. FGCU nearly won the Atlantic Sun Tournament last year. It did win it this year.

Enfield, from Shippensburg, Pa., is a hot coach.

His wife, Amanda Marcum, retired supermodel and now mother of three, is way hotter.

"There's a sign above my door in my office that says: 'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take,' " Enfield said.

A retiree/FGCU fan gave him the sign last year. He understood.

The coach keeps taking shots and making shots, none bigger than when he met Amanda. Andy and Amanda actually got together when she needed a ride from New York to Boston to see Oklahoma State play in the NCAA Tournament. Friends were along for the ride with them, and the next you thing you know, you're married to a supermodel.

Andy and Amanda have three children - Aila, Lily and Marcum. Amanda has the covers of Maxim, Elle and Vogue. Andy shares the cover of the FGCU postseason guide with two of his players.

Enfield's father, Bill, the longtime junior high coach in Shippensburg, taught him how to play. He learned so well that he went to Johns Hopkins University to study and play basketball.

Hopkins, one of America's most prestigious academic institutions, is just south of Guilford, Baltimore's most exclusive neighborhood. JHU is known for one athletic endeavor - its lacrosse team, a national power for decades. In every other sport, it's for fun.

Enfield became an academic All-American but still managed to score 2,025 points for the Hopkins basketball team. He attempted 466 free throws and missed 35, a ridiculous 92.5 percent success rate. He is a sought-after shooting instructor for obvious reasons.

Florida Gulf Coast gets Georgetown Friday evening in a second-round NCAA game at Wells Fargo Center. There is a small chance the television cameras may find Amanda in the stands.

The Eagles won 39 games the last two seasons. They had won 39 in the four seasons before Enfield arrived.

They are in Fort Myers, which, not surprisingly, happens to be on the Florida Gulf Coast. It is a good life.

"I've never been one to not try to do things and look for opportunities," Enfield said. "I take those shots. I've failed numerous times. I appreciate the compliments. I don't look at my life as charmed . . . My wife Amanda has been very supportive. She gave up her career to be a coach's wife and have a family, and so we're in a place now where it's a lot of fun."

Enfield's players no doubt have seen photos of Amanda.

"I don't joke around with him about his wife," forward Chase Fieler said. "He does control my playing time."

And they do not get in shooting contests with their coach.

"No, we try to keep our confidence up," Fieler said.

Enfield coached under Mike Dunleavy with the Bucks, Rick Pitino with the Celtics, and Leonard Hamilton with Florida State. So he got a basketball education after he got a world-class education in Baltimore. He is renowned as a skill-development coach.

Still, many wondered what he was doing when he got into coaching at all, when he obviously could have been a success in just about any field.

"People have been telling me I'm crazy my whole life," Enfield said. "Yeah, they told me I was crazy trying to break into the NBA at a young age to be a shooting coach."

They told him he was crazy to go with Hamilton to a longtime ACC bottom feeder. And they definitely thought he had lost it when he took the FGCU job.

"They thought it was a community college," Enfield said.

He spent much of his time convincing recruits he was not the coach of Gulf Coast Community College in the Panhandle.

"There were a couple of dorm rooms, but there were wild animals crossing the road you would see back there," forward Eddie Murray said.

What kind of wild animals?

"Personally, I've seen everything from wild boar, bobcats, alligators," Murray said.

Now, FGCU is in NCAA Tournament playing Georgetown, one of the most recognizable brands in the sport.

So can the Eagles beat the Hoyas? Who knows? And, really, who cares?

In a college sports world that has completely tilted off its axis in search of football cash, the first Thursday and Friday of this tournament are still reserved for the teams that can't win anything but minds and hearts. And if that ever ends, the unique flavor of the NCAA will be gone right along with the greed that has ruined so much of college sports.

For now, we have Andy Enfield and Amanda Marcum. We have Florida Gulf Coast from the Atlantic Sun. And we have a basketball game Friday evening, one of 67 on the way to determining a champion in Atlanta. That final game certainly will matter. So does this.

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