This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Tim Miles and Andy Enfield -- are either viable options for Gophers?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches Updated: April 1, 2013 - 3:44 PM

My insider in today's Star Tribune: Have patience Gopher Nation -- this is what you asked for.

Now that we’re into our second week of the search to replace Tubby Smith -- still less time than it has taken for any of the five most recent Big Ten coaching searches to be completed, which I'll break down in a later post --  a lot of names have been thrown out. Some of the names have been speculation, some of them have been tied to Minnesota by unnamed sources.

(It’s tough to get anyone to talk on the record in situations like these, because often times their jobs and/or reputations are at stake. I haven’t quoted anyone in this search. But it’s still important to use judgment in reacting to such attributions.)

I’ve mentioned Buzz Williams and Chris Mack as two guys athletic director Norwood Teague and right-hand man Mike Ellis could set their eyes on moving forward.

But there are a couple of other names generating some recent buzz. Let’s take a look about whether either of those is viable:

Andy Enfield, Florida Gulf Coast:

ESPN's Andy Katz reported on Monday that Minnesota is making a move for him:

 Why he could make sense as the next Gophers coach:

  • He’s a Villa 7 guy. Are you guys tired of hearing that? Something tells me you are. But it doesn’t change the fact that Enfield is a Villa 7 guy, and therefore has something of a relationship with Teague and Ellis already.
  • His up-and-down style would be a plus for recruiting and would benefit the athletes already on the roster. Enfield has done a lot with a little at FGCU, with most of his players being only lightly recruited otherwise.
  • Whereas an Enfield hire a year ago might not have gone over so well, Enfield’s name has become well-known in the last few weeks as he’s led this year’s team to the Sweet Sixteen and has enjoyed an overflow of national coverage.
  • He’s smart. Enfield graduated as Valedictorian of his Shippensburg (Pa.) High School class and is a self-made millionaire through a partnership with a business technology start-up called TractManager.
  • In makes sense as a next step. Enfield is two years into his head coaching job at FGCU and has held only one other assistant job in his collegiate career – at Florida State. Previously, he was an NBA assistant, including a stint with the Boston Celtics, when he worked under current Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

Why he might not be:

  • While Enfield is a hot topic right now, he’s still relatively inexperienced. After just beginning his project at FGCU, two years earlier – and getting a whiff of the success he’s brought to Dunk City -- is Enfield now ready to head out to the cold, white tundra and begin yet another project?
  • By all accounts I’ve heard, Enfield is very happy with Florida and his current situation. He lives near the beach, his family is happy there and the expectations are minimal. While the FGCU coach made just $157,500 last season and Minnesota is very capable of giving him a major raise, money isn’t really a factor for the independently wealthy Enfield.

Prognosis: Could he leave? Sure, anything can happen, but at this point it doesn’t look likely.

Also: The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that Enfield will interview at Old Dominion this week.


Tim Miles, Nebraska:

Why he could make sense as the next Gophers coach:

  • Miles has been interested in the Minnesota job for some time. Before the current Nebraska coach was at Colorado State – his last stop – he had stops at Southwest Minnesota State and North Dakota State, and therefore is very familiar with recruiting in Gopher land.
  • Nebraska and the rest of the Big Ten found this out quickly with Miles: he has the kind of personality that can quickly win over a fan base, media members, players and donors. He infused life into the Huskers program last season and had a team with limited talent greatly improved by the end of the year.

Why he might not be:

  • If this coaching vacancy had come a year ago, it would be a different story. But Miles is in the Big Ten now, and has spent just one season with the Huskers. Moving to a new job -- within the league, where he would have to coach his new team against his former players -- after just one season would likely leave Miles vilified in the media and in Nebraska. What’s more, he’s put a lot of time and energy into that program this year. Would he be so willing to turn his back on all of that?
  • One more thing: facilities. I have toured Nebraska’s lush hoops practice facility and seen just how much of a difference it means in recruiting. When it comes down to it, the on-court talent and results between Nebraska and Minnesota might not be all that different next season, either. In that case don’t you stay with the project you’ve already begun?

Prognosis: It’s a year too late for Miles. Too bad, because he’d be fantastic for the program.


Yes, I realize that I just knocked down as “unrealistic” both of the coaches I just brought up – however, I felt compelled to look into them a little bit more because they are names that have been batted around recently. At this point, I still think Mack and Williams are better prospects, but I would not be surprised if there are new candidates surfacing in the next few days. This is how these things go, folks. Just remember: it’s probably worse for me than it is for you.

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