USC Basketball Coach Search: Howland, Enfield, Hopkins, And Others On Pat Haden's List Of Candidates?

 @GP_IBTimes on April 01 2013 5:00 PM
FGCU Andy Enfield
Reuters

For some coaches, a trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 is just another year. But for Florida Gulf Coast head coach Andy Enfield, it could mark a huge opportunity.

The 43-year-old guided the No. 15 seed Eagles to upset wins over Georgetown and San Diego State, and that has caught the eye of USC athletic director Pat Haden, according to Yahoo! Sports. FGCU was eliminated Friday by Florida, but Enfield and his team became the darling of this year's tournament nonetheless.

The Trojans have been looking for a new head men’s basketball coach since firing Kevin O’Neill in January.

FGCU's run-and-gun style became known as “Dunk City,” and that style of play could gain a lot more attention in Los Angeles. In his second season at FGCU, the Eagles improved their record by 11 wins compared to last season under Enfield.

The lifestyle change would be minimal compared to sunny Fort Meyers, Fla., and Enfield could also expect a major pay upgrade, although the former businessman reportedly does not need the money.

The Trojans have gone 22-40 over the last two seasons, and have missed the tournament both years, perhaps making the rewards of hiring Enfield worth the risk.

Other candidates are still being considered, like long-time Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins, who met with USC back in February, according to Syracuse.com.

Hopkins has been viewed as Orange head coach Jim Boeheim’s successor for quite some time. However with no retirement plans on the horizon for Boeheim, Hopkins may opt for a return home. Hopkins is originally from Southern California, and attended Mater Dei High School, one of the premier high school basketball programs in the country.

Aside from up and comers, veteran coaches are still out there. 

There have been numerous conflicting reports about Tubby Smith joining Texas Tech, a week removed from his firing at Minnesota. While it appears the two sides are very close to a deal, nothing has been finalized yet, with the Red Raiders athletic department flat out denying any deal.

Then there is Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, who has brought the Shockers to their first Final Four since 1965. With the team heading to Atlanta, Marshall won’t have time to interview, and he has not officially been tied to the job, but as Eric Angevine of NBC Sports points out, Marshall has done an impressive a job.

One provocative move Haden could pull off is hiring former UCLA coach Ben Howland. The 55-year-old was let go by the Bruins after they were eliminated for the tournament in the second round, and the OC Register pointed out just how successful his run and resume were.

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