- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Florida Gulf Coast University is the first 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16 in NCAA tournament history. If you plan to jump on the bandwagon and pretend to have been there from the start, you need to sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Here are 16 FGCU facts to help you pretend you’ve been an Eagles fan for life.
1. FGCU opened its doors just recently, in 1997, so unless you are 16 years old or younger, don’t say you have been an FGCU fan for life. The school didn’t exist when any of the Eagles’ current players were born. In fact, FGCU didn’t even start becoming a Division I program until 2007 and didn’t gain full Division I membership until 2011. So unless you are age 2 or younger, don’t say you have been an FGCU fan for life. Toddler bandwagon fans are the worst.
2. FGCU is located in the Fort Myers area. Fort Myers was once known for ... hmm. Being on the Gulf of Mexico? Or maybe the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium? Now it’s best known for FGCU. The city’s official website now even has #DUNKCITY at the top of every page. This should only be the first step in a total rebranding. Where would you rather live, start a business or go on vacation? Fort Myers, Fla. -- home of the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium? Or Dunk City, USA, where the sunshine and alley-oops are plentiful and even gap-toothed basketball coaches have supermodel wives?
3. FGCU is the first 15-seed to make it to the Sweet 16. It is also one of the first 15-seeds to have a rap anthem. And its rap anthem is definitely the first one in history to prominently feature a Nerf hoop. Straight outta Toys"R"Us.
4. The Eagles entered the NCAA tournament with the third-worst odds to win it all at 2,000 to 1. Don’t say you bet on them to win it all, because if you did, you’re going to have to explain why you continue to work at your job and why you haven’t bought a yacht.
5. Coach Andy Enfield’s wife, Amanda Marcum, is a supermodel who has been on the cover of “Maxim” and “Elle.” Even better, she has never complained about any of the FGCU players when they drop passes.
6. Enfield took his wife on their first date to a St. John’s NIT game. They ate at Taco Bell. Yes, Taco Bell. And this was 2003, in pre-Doritos Locos Tacos America. It’s one thing to woo a supermodel in 2013 with the world’s premier ground beef and cheese delivery device at your disposal, it’s entirely different to do so back in the dark ages when no one had yet to even conceive of nacho cheese and cool ranch tacos. Enfield must have the most game ever.
7. Enfield is worth millions. Lots of millions. He started a software company but cashed out to pursue coaching. So, to recap: He is worth a ton of money, has a supermodel wife and lives at the beach ... but he chooses to spend the majority of his time coaching basketball. Breaking news: Andy Enfield likes basketball much more than the average man does.
8. The FGCU campus is fraught with animal dangers. The university’s official website has a page on wildlife safety that includes the phrases “All wild animals must not be fed or approached” and “please observe all posted speed limits to minimize collisions with wildlife.” What the? In addition to the obvious presence of alligators, they’ve got boars. Boars! And people think they’re going to be intimidated by people from Georgetown or San Diego State or the bright lights of truTV? Yeah, no.
9. Enfield played college basketball at Johns Hopkins and his 92.5 percent career free throw percentage is the highest in NCAA history. The Eagles as a team shoot only 67.7 percent from the line. That probably doesn’t drive him insane at all.
10. FGCU’s women’s team has won four of the past five Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season titles. If you really want to burnish your FGCU fan cred, consider talking about the success of the women’s team. “Yeah, Enfield and the guys are doing well, but coach Karl Smesko and the women’s team are the true basketball stars at FGCU.” Your watercooler companions will be in awe of your knowledge.
11. FGCU does not have a football team. Good. That would be a waste of resources. Check your NCAA bracket. Florida is a basketball state.
12. Typos are funny.
Somebody told me Fla was a football state! Wouldn't be able to tell right now. Congrats to The U(of course), Fla Golf Coast and UF!! #Hoops
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 25, 2013
If the Eagles are tempted to rest on their laurels, they should be remotivated to achieve enough to make LeBron know the name of their school.
13. The Eagles’ most recent loss came on Feb. 22 against Stetson. Stetson is called the Hatters. That’s really all I wanted to share with this one. Well, maybe this, too: After that loss to the Stetson Hatters -- the Stetson Hatters! -- Enfield had this to say: “I’m proud of our team’s effort tonight. We played very hard. ... Looking back, I don’t think we would have done anything different except make the shots.” Play hard and make the shots seems like it might be the best and most simple basketball philosophy ever. If the Eagles can keep checking off those two categories every game, don’t expect them to lose in this tournament. Or ever again.
14. FGCU’s last home game was on March 2 against Kennesaw State. The reported attendance was 2,574, but it’s likely fewer than that number attended. Interestingly enough, 2,354 people in ESPN.com tournament pools picked the Eagles to win it all. Maybe they were these same people. The original FGCU fans. The few, the proud, the strong. The 2,354. The people who are now calling all of us bandwagon fans.
15. The “Notable Alumni” section on FGCU’s Wikipedia page lists six people: White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, Florida state representative Matt Caldwell, former Phillies pitcher Don Carman, Cubs minor leaguer Casey Coleman, pro golfer Derek Lamely and monster truck driver Courtney Jolly. Unfortunately, while FGCU has a political science major, a PGA golf management major and a baseball team, it has neither a monster truck driving major or a monster truck driving team. Maybe in time. The university is only 16 years old.
16. At 2-0 in its first NCAA tournament, FGCU is the only program to be undefeated in tournament history. If Billy Donovan has any motivational skills at all, he will use this fact to paint his Gators as the underdog. “The team we will face tonight, gentlemen, is a powerhouse unlike any that has ever been seen before. They have never lost an NCAA tournament game. I repeat: never. They score on alley-oops at will. They come from a place called Dunk City, which is no doubt some sort of place created solely for basketball dominance. The people there drive around in trucks the size of monsters. Whereas you play for a football school in the north Florida backwater of Gainesville. You play for a program that hasn’t won a national title in six years and you’re facing the only undefeated team in NCAA tournament history. If you don’t want to get blown out of the gym tonight, I need everything you’ve got.” I’m convinced. Maybe the Florida Gators are the true underdog team.