Ten-year Kansas basketball assistant Joe Dooley is the new head coach at Florida Gulf Coast, a school that virtuall nobody had heard of before this year’s NCAA Basketball Championship. That’s not the case anymore, though, as FCGU, which took on the moniker ‘Dunk City’ after its Cinderalla-like improbable run through the NCAA Tournament almost took the small Gulf-side Florida school to the promised land of the Final Four.
Dooley, an original member of Bill Self’s coaching staff at Kansas, has been with Self since the Kansas head coach took over the KU men’s basketball program in 2003. He replaces Andy Enfield, who resigned after leading the Eagles to the Sweet 16 before losing to Florida in the South Regional semifinals to become the new head coach at the University of Southern California in the Pac-12 Conference. FCGU upset No. 2 seed Georgetown and eight-seed San Diego State on the opening weekend of March Madness last month to become the first 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament.
Enfield did not leave the cupboard bare at FGCU. The Eagles will have four starters returning next fall. “It (won’t be) an overhaul situation,” Dooley said. “They have four returnng starters, and we’ll incorporatea lot of what they did at Kansas.”
Before joining Self’s staff at Kansas, Dooley was an assistant coach at Wyoming and New Mexico. From 1991 to 1995, he was the head basketball coach at East Carolina and took his team to the NCAA Tournament in 1993. Dooley was a major factor in Kansas’ ability to land East Coast recruits. Former Jayhawk players Marcus and Markief Morris came from Philadelphia, Tyshawn Taylor was from New Jersey and Dooley helped recruit Washington, D.C., native Thomas Robinson.
Self is sad to see his longtime assistant leave, but is happy for him and the opportunity that awaits him in Fort Meyers, Fla, to take over a program that is definitely on the rise and has caught the public’s attention. “He’s been instrumental in not only coaching our guys but also with the development and skill improvement of our players,” Self said. “All of our players have enjoyed playing for him, knowing they were going to get his best effort every day.”