The USC men’s basketball head coaching job is a decent job. It’s not on the level of the UCLA men’s basketball head coaching job, but most jobs aren’t. And for all the cons about the job, its biggest pro is that it’s located in Southern California.
So you really can’t blame Andy Enfield for leaving his job in Fort Myers, Florida as head coach FGCU for Southern California and a job in the Pac-12. But it must be said that there a huge risks involved for both parties.
For Enfield, the risk is to his career going forward. Unlike Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens, Enfield doesn’t have a record of having success year in and year out. Enfield’s entire resume boils down to a 78-68 win over Georgetown and an 81-71 win over San Diego State. Were those wins impressive? Of course. But other than that, Enfield’s resume is bare. Sure he was a NBA assistant and you can clearly see that he has a chance to be a great coach. But what if it doesn’t work out? What if he falls on his face at USC? What job would be waiting for him next?
In contrast, say Shaka Smart took the USC job and failed miserably. Another school is more likely to take a chance on Smart because despite his failures at USC, there’s always his extensive record at VCU. Enfield won’t have that luxury.
For USC, the risks are obvious. AD Pat Hayden is essentially turning over his program to an unproven commodity. You can argue that if Hayden went out and hired a young assistant under a top coach that it’s the same situation. But at least you have a proven commodity vouching for the unproven commodity. There’s no one vouching for Enfield. And all that’s there is two wins in the NCAA Tournament.
What makes this even more problematic is that the USC program isn’t exactly in the best of shape at the moment. The program is on its third coach in four years and no coach has lasted more than five years in the job since Henry Bibby.
Andy Enfield going to USC is clearly a case of high risk, high reward. And we’re sure both parties are aware of that. But we’re not so sure if both parties are ready to handle the ramifications if the high reward part doesn’t pay off.