FGCU officials: Good luck, Coach Enfield, but we are Dunk City

Katherine Albers/Staff
- The Florida Gulf Coast University Eagle ID office created a special Dunk City ID card for students and staff. The card has the student's photo, name and a phrase of their choosing next to an image of a basketball with Dunk City and the FGCU logo.

Katherine Albers/Staff - The Florida Gulf Coast University Eagle ID office created a special Dunk City ID card for students and staff. The card has the student's photo, name and a phrase of their choosing next to an image of a basketball with Dunk City and the FGCU logo.

Andy Enfield leaving FGCU for USC

Press conference on coaching position.

Florida Gulf Coast University officials say they don’t begrudge the University of Southern California for hiring men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield away.

But they’re not willing to relinquish the school’s newly-minted moniker: Dunk City.

Almost as soon as news broke of Enfield’s departure late Monday, Internet headlines touted Dunk City’s move from the Gulf Coast to the West Coast. USC’s athletic website used the phrase on its front page and used a hashtag #DunkCityUSC in a Twitter announcement.

The Eagles earned the nickname during their NCAA tournament run for their up-tempo brand of basketball predicated on highflying dunks. FGCU athletic director Ken Kavanagh said in no uncertain terms Tuesday that his school is the only one with a rightful claim to the title.

“There is only one Dunk City, USA,” Kavanagh said. “It’s inappropriate for USC to (use the term), and I will let USC know that.”

The entertaining above-the-rim style, along with FGCU’s underdog story, entertained television audiences and helped the Eagles become one of the biggest stories in the country overnight. With two wins in the tournament, FGCU became the first No. 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16 before losing last week to Florida.

Enfield was the maestro who conducted the Dunk City offense. He gave his players the freedom to run up and down the court and encouraged their fun-loving, sometimes street-ball attitudes.

But players say just because Enfield helped create the phenomenon, he doesn’t get to take the title with him.

“(USC is) basically trying to buy out everything we earned,” FGCU sophomore guard Bernard Thompson said. “You can’t really do that. They didn’t earn the right to have that label. Coach Enfield is not Dunk City; it’s the whole team. FGCU is Dunk City.”

On Friday, hours before the Eagles became the first 15 seed to play in the Sweet 16, ESPN reported that a Fort Myers man filed for a trademark on the term “Dunk City.” The same article said FGCU’s lawyers are fighting the claim, believing they have the right to the phrase, and have sent cease and desist letters to anyone marketing Dunk City merchandise.

At Tuesday’s news conference, FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw reiterated that the school is defending what it believes to be its intellectual property.

“We’re being very aggressive about it,” Bradshaw said. “Make no mistake; the nation knows where Dunk City is.”

Enfield did not address the topic when asked by reporters Tuesday in a brief interview at Alico Arena.

“We’ll deal with that,” Enfield said. “Let me deal with my contract news conference and actually be out there and we’ll take care of it.”

FGCU became Dunk City after a first-round upset of No. 2 seed Georgetown. The crown jewel of the Eagles’ five-dunk performance was a one-handed flip pass from point guard Brett Comer to Chase Fieler, who also used one hand to stuff the ball through the rim.

The alley-oop came with less than two minutes left and served as an exclamation point for one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history.

“(USC is) claiming Dunk City, but (Enfield) didn’t make a play,” Comer said. “He gave us the blueprint for it, but we made every single play. We had the athletes to do it. I made the passes to guys to do it.

“We are still Dunk City. Nobody can ever take that away from us.”

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