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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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SMU Reportedly Poaching USC Men’s Basketball Coach With ACC Move Looming

  • The Mustangs’ wealthy donors helped pave the way to a power conference.
  • The USC men’s program had a dramatic final Pac-12 season.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dunk City might be heading to the Lone Star State. 

USC’s men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield is Southern Methodist’s top target ahead of its move to the Atlantic Coast Conference this coming summer, according to ESPN. College basketball analyst Jeff Goodman reported that Enfield is “expected” to sign a deal with SMU next week.

Enfield spent five years in the ACC as an assistant coach at Florida State and has familiarity with the conference’s footprint as a head coach after a stint at Florida Gulf Coast, where he took the Eagles to the Sweet 16 in 2013. Enfield took the Trojans to the Elite Eight in ’21. 

By going from Los Angeles to Dallas, Enfield makes the rare college coaching change where he gets to move from one major city to another. But the most surprising part of the move is that it could be perceived as a step down in prestige, even as the Mustangs finally get the power-conference status they’ve long coveted. USC went 15–18 in its final year in the Pac-12 despite having projected NBA draft pick Isaiah Collier and Bronny James, the son of NBA star LeBron James. Bronny brought increased media attention and spotlight to the program despite mainly playing as a reserve.

USC will join the Big Ten next season, creating increased travel as the Trojans could head as far east as New Jersey to play Rutgers during conference play, which will be an increased toll on both college athletes and their coaches. 

SMU’s travel schedule isn’t light by any means. There are ACC schools in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. But SMU’s central location makes its travel burden slightly lighter compared to the coastal schools. It could be another reason why Enfield would leave a brand name such as USC for an athletic department known mostly for football. 
SMU hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 since 1967, but it has a strong donor base, which essentially paid its way into the ACC. ESPN reported the school targeted Enfield because it wants to field a competitive team immediately upon entering the conference. Despite a lack of basketball history, the recruiting-rich Dallas area and the school’s deep pockets give it some upside.

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