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March 29, 2013

Dalton State College's Ingle and Waugh reflect on past against Florida Gulf Coast

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Waugh coached Stetson Univer-sity’s men’s basketball team from 1997 to 2011, taking over as head coach in 2000. And he may have some direct influence on FGCU success.

When he resigned as Stetson’s coach — a year later becoming Dalton State’s athletic director to lead the school’s relaunched sports programs — he got a call from Andy Enfield. Formerly involved in the start of a health care software company once estimated to be valued at $100 million, according to a USA Today report, Enfield was an assistant at Florida State University. He called to inquire about the Stetson opening and an opening at FGCU, Waugh said, and received blunt advice.

“I told him if he was thinking of taking the Stetson job, then he was crazy,” Waugh said. “I told him to take the Florida Gulf Coast job because everyone considered it a diamond in the rough. ... Right at that point, both programs had a lot of good, young players. They were both seen as good jobs. (FGCU) has got 13,000 students. It didn’t have the academic requirements that Stetson did. It has a beautiful arena. Collier County is one of the wealthiest counties in the state.

“A little-known fact, they are the only Division I school in the state of Florida that does not have another Division I school within a two-hour radius. Miami is the closest. That might not seem like a lot, but there’s so much talent in Florida.”

Enfield became FGCU’s new coach. He replaced Dave Balza, who didn’t survive the transition from Division II to Division I. The same happened to Ingle, who was fired after the 2010-2011 season.

“I’m rooting for them, and I feel sorry for the coach who got fired from there,” Ingle said.

In 2011-12, Enfield’s first season coaching the team and the school’s first with full Division I postseason eligibility, FGCU went 15-17, losing in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship to Belmont.

Now he is the hot topic of the coaching carousel sector of college basketball. The Naples (Fla.) Daily News reported Monday the school planned to increase  Enfield’s salary from $157,000 annually to $300,000 after the season. But both USA Today and the Los Angeles Times ran stories endorsing UCLA trying to hire Enfield. The Bruins recently fired head coach Ben Howland.

“I root for coaches I know and like,” Waugh said. “And I root for Andy. He’s a good guy all around.”

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