In what has become one of the most exciting stories of this year’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, Hopkins alumnus and Florida Gulf Coast University head coach Andy Enfield has moved into the national spotlight. Enfield was the first recruit of Bill Nelson, current head coach of the Hopkins basketball team, and still keeps in touch.
This year, in Enfield’s second season as head coach of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and in the University’s 16th year of existence, Enfield led the team to a 26-10 season and a 15th seed berth into the tournament. The story does not end there, however. Florida Gulf Coast University then went on to pull arguably two of the biggest upsets in March Madness history. After defeating number two seed Georgetown University and then number seven seed San Diego State University this past weekend in Philadelphia, the Eagles have now become the highest seeded team in history to place in the Sweet 16 of the tournament.
Among the people watching the Eagles’ performance this past weekend was Hopkins Basketball Head Coach, Bill Nelson.
“Their style of play, some of the stuff that they do, gets people out of their seats. It’s exciting,” Nelson said.
Nelson was able to go to the games in Philadelphia and even visit the Eagles’ locker room. Enfield was Nelson’s first recruit at Hopkins, and played for him for four years.
“He didn’t want to sit the bench. Knowing that we needed players and after having checked us out and after I made a few home visits to watch him play, he knew he had a good chance to come in here and play right away, which he did. He started every game but one in his whole career here and he still, to this day, has played more minutes than any other player in Hopkins’ history,” Nelson said.
Enfield’s record in minutes played is one of 16 records that he set in his time at Hopkins.
The former Alpha Delta Phi (Wawa) member still holds the title as Hopkins Basketball’s all-time leading scorer with 2,025 points and even holds the NCAA Division III record for career free throw percentage at 92.5 percent.
Furthermore, as Nelson noted, Enfield was also a team player, ranking 10th in Hopkins history in assists.
During his time at Hopkins, Enfield was recognized as a NABC All-American (1991), a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and a NCAA Postgraduate Scholar (1991). He now is a member of the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame.
After college, Enfield, who is married to supermodel Amanda Marcum and a father of three children, has found remarkable success both on and off the basketball court.
After working as a shooting coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics, Enfield went on to pursue a career in business where he found a great degree of success.
After selling his share in the company TractManager, whose value had grown to $100 million, Enfield returned to basketball as an assistant coach for Florida State University, a position he held prior to his current role at Florida Gulf Coast University.
But even to this day, Enfield still maintains connections to his alma mater, keeping regular contact with Nelson, his former coach.
“He doesn’t forget Hopkins. He loved Hopkins, his parents loved Hopkins. The other day after they won the second game, his Dad hugged me and said ‘I am really glad that you brought him to Hopkins,’” Nelson said.
Furthermore, Nelson sees Enfield’s story as having a lesson embedded for Hopkins’s current basketball team. According to Nelson, Enfield’s story shows how, because it is generally more difficult for a player in Division III to gain attention in the basketball world than a player in Division I, Division III players must further develop the qualities of perseverance and determination in order to advance their name.
“I talk about how things came easy for him as a player, but as far as proving himself to other people in the basketball world, it took a while. Some of our lunches and talks were focused on how he could move a little faster,” Nelson said. “[Enfield’s story] proves the power of stick-to-itiveness, hanging in there, networking”
Enfield had been determined even during his undergraduate days at Hopkins, according to Nelson who still remembers the time that Enfield missed the team bus to the airport. After apparently oversleeping, Enfield had to rush to the airport via taxi thus costing him his position as a starter during that day’s game. Although he was put in the game during the first quarter, Nelson notes that this was the one time during Enfield’s Hopkins career that he was not a starter and Enfield is still upset about it.
Freshman Keely Herring only loosely follows college basketball. But after finding out that Enfield was a Hopkins alumnus, she was enticed to research more about the Eagles’ story
“I feel as if Enfield is representing Hopkins whenever announcers or articles reference that he went here. Who wouldn’t be proud to go to the school that produced such a well-rounded person?” Herring said.
Enfield’s success is one of the many successes Hopkins sports has experienced recently.
Just this year, among other accomplishments, the Women’s Basketball Head Coach Nancy Funk, who is now the winningest coach in the Centennial Conference’s history, won her 600th game and the Women’s Cross Country team took home the national title.
In the past 10 years, Hopkins has placed in the top 25 of over 400 schools that constitute the NACDA Division III Director’s Cup’s rankings, a ranking based upon overall athletic achievement without regard for academics.
Nelson has also been widely successful here at Hopkins. Having completed 27 seasons as head coach, Nelson is the winningest coach in Hopkins history.
Among many accolades garnered throughout the years, he has achieved greatness by coaching Hopkins players. Beyond earning the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year honors for the 2011-12 season, Nelson led eight teams to the NCAA tournament and coached six players who are now in the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Enfield’s story is just another example of how Hopkins’s sports go under-recognized. It shouldn’t have to take a crazy story in March Madness for people to recognize the accomplishments of Hopkins sports across the board,” Herring said.