With the unexpected rise of the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles in this year’s NCAA Tournament, it wasn’t much of a surprise that bigger schools with more prominent men’s basketball programs would come sniffing around coach Andy Enfield. After all, that’s the nature of the sports beast. If you’re a little dog like FGCU, no measure of momentary success and national prominence is going to keep you in the conversation when a much bigger, wealthier dog like the University of Southern California comes calling, with its gorgeous campus and national spotlight. Oh yeah, and its giant bags of money.
“USC is one of the best basketball jobs in the country,” Enfield said. “I’ve been familiar with USC for many years. I’ve been doing this a long time. When I met (USC athletic director) Pat Haden, his vision was the same as mine.
“USC was where I wanted to be.” (Via the L.A. Daily News)
Yeah, I’m sure that stings a little, and some people feel bad for FGCU. To them I say, “Don’t.” This is sports, sports are a business and business is business. After guys like Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens, Enfield was going to be a pretty sexy name to bigger programs looking to turn things around. So don’t be upset with Enfield for being a traitor or something over-the-top like that. Wish him well and hope that a new guy comes in and continues what he started this year.
What FGCU fans can be upset about, and the subject of this week’s BEEF THURSDAYS installment, is that USC straight up tried to steal the Eagles’ Dunk City moniker. As you can see above, USC helped itself to Dunk City as recently as yesterday. Fortunately, the Trojans since doubled back and removed it. But still, that’s not cool, Trojans. Not cool at all.
Nothing is sacred when it comes to sports nicknames, obviously. Take the staples like America’s Team or Title Town, or the increasingly generic 12th Man. Teams steal these names from each other left and right, leaving their overzealous fans to send death threats back and forth about the real owner of such imaginary honors.
But Dunk City? The ink hadn’t even dried on some FGCU fan posters. It’s one thing if USC waited until the start of next season to declare the Galen Center the new home of Dunk City. At least then we’d be like, “Yeah sure, whatever.” But this year’s NCAA Tournament hasn’t even ended yet. The FGCU players are probably still waiting to watch the Final Four games and National Championship while imagining that fate and the gods of underdogs took them just a little bit further.
Hell, the Eagles’ fans even made two rap videos, both called DUNK CITY. And it’s not like Enfield was the one on the court doing all of the dunking. That honor belongs to the kids who carried the No. 15 seed Eagles farther than any 15 seed had ever advanced before.
USC wasn’t even in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans got bounced in the first round of the PAC-12 Tournament and that was it. Until this year’s NCAA Tourney is over, they shouldn’t be called anything but Bounce City. After all, that’s appropriate for both the Trojans and their new coach.
So let this be a lesson to the so-called big schools out there. You can take all of the coaches you want, but you can’t take wins.
(Dunk City image via)
In celebration of Beef Thursday, #BeefThursdays is a weekly column dedicated to worst feuds, issues and fights in the world of sports. Be sure to share your choices for With Leather’s beef of the week with the appropriate hashtag (#beefthursdays) and make your voice heard. In case we haven’t typed beef enough yet, “beef.”
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