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Sports

FGCU Basketball Fans Look Back On Season, Bid Farewell To Enfield

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This week, Florida Gulf Coast University officials, staff and basketball fans gathered at Alico Arena for a banquet this week to celebrate the Eagles’ record-breaking basketball season. They also bid farewell to the team’s beloved coach.

About 500 people gathered at this week’s banquet to commemorate and donate to the FGCU men’s basketball team.

The team was thrust into the national spotlight last month after two big wins in the NCAA tournament. No number-15 seed team had ever made it to the “sweet sixteen” in history—until the Eagles.

David Moulton, a local ESPN sports commentator, said he wasn’t as surprised as everyone else was.

“You know the guys called it,” Moulton said. “I don’t know how many of you are familiar but before the season started the players were asked you know, ‘what are the goals,’ but my understanding was that at the end of the players listing their goals, Filip Cvjeticanin stood up and with his European accent said ‘heck with that, we go ‘sweet sixteen’ and then we all go pro.’”

And that’s what has happened for many of the players. Senior superstar player Sherwood Brown says he has high hopes to go pro.

“Yeah, I am looking to go continue my basketball career and go professional,” Brown said. “I am in contact with agents at the moment. So, I have to get an agent first.”

Brown said after choosing an agent, he will go to camps that will help give him more exposure before the NBA draft starts in the summer.

FGCU president Wilson Bradshaw said last month’s Cinderella run in the NCAA didn’t just help put Brown on the map—it put FGCU on the map, too.

“When we were in Philadelphia and Texas and walking around those two cities and seeing the support that FGCU was getting from all quarters,” he said. “People coming up to you asking to buy your shirts off your backs. That was just unbelievable.”

Bradshaw said people from all over the country were also rooting for a team they never heard before because they said they just loved the school’s spirit.

Besides reminiscing, school officials also said their goodbyes to Andy Enfield—the team’s coach during the season.

Enfield landed a lucrative gig at the University of Southern California for next season as their team’s new coach.

Enfield said he was immensely proud of the team’s accomplishments.

“No one would have imagined that we would make history to be the first 15-seed to make it to the ‘sweet sixteen,’ to win 26 games and be ranked in top 25 at the end of the season,” he said. “I don’t think any of us would have thought that.”

He said he’s most proud that his team was not only able to accomplish so much for themselves, but for their school, as well.

“In fact, when I first got the job here and I tried to tell people men’s basketball can do something special for this school you just have to trust me,” Enfield said. “Men’s basketball if you build it the right way can be the sport that puts the school on the map.”

The school’s admissions webpage got a huge bump last month. Athletics officials say they are hoping to make the men’s basketball team’s success a tradition from now on.