The Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles are the talk of the college basketball world after their unlikely NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 run. The Eagles’ leader, head coach Andy Enfield has been the subject of plenty of discussion — from his business ventures, to his Sports Illustrated cover model wife, and now, to rumblings that FGCU is looking for the cash to ramp up his contract before he heads for greener pastures.
But should they?
It’s the classic conundrum that so many emerging programs — regardless of sport — are faced with when they encounter unlikely and overnight success. In the 24-hour media cycle which drives the way media reports the news and the stories consumers of that media find appealing, no stone is left unturned.
Artificial value is often the result of overnight success, driving the price a coach can ask of his Athletic Director and of the university through the roof. This appears to be the case for Enfield, as reports suggest that his salary could in fact double from $150,000 to $300,000 should the program be able to put together the resources to get the deal done.
Before FGCU makes this type of investment in Enfield, however, I certainly hope they are doing their due diligence to ensure they are paying for sustained success and not breaking the bank on what was nothing more than lightning in a bottle.
Sure, it’s impressive the the Eagles are the first team in NCAA Basketball history to make the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed, but it in no way suggests long-term, sustainable success (see the Butler Bulldogs, Gonzaga Bulldogs) that in turn would warrant a 100% pay raise for Enfield.
Prior to the 2012-2013 campaign, the Eagles went 18-41 over their previous two seasons of competition. Given this, and the fact that Enfield has done what he has with the team this season with a lineup heavy on underclassmen, certainly suggests he has some coaching talent, and could eventually be pursued by larger programs and labeled as the next Brad Stevens or Shaka Smart.
Can we assume, though, that will happen after this tournament? Given that, is FGCU’s hand forced?
Therein lies the quandary.
It’s about economics — and as well all know, economics can be a daunting thing.