Men's basketball: Enfield endorses Richter as his replacement at FGCU

Building Dunk City: The Rise of the Eagles

— Former Florida Gulf Coast University and current USC coach Andy Enfield gave his endorsement to Eagles assistant and interim coach Marty Richter to replace him as head coach.

“He was so valuable to our success,” Enfield said after Monday night’s men’s basketball banquet in Alico Arena,. “A head coach is only as good as his assistants, and Marty and the rest of our staff are terrific. Marty could be a very good head coach. He’s experienced. He knows the players. He knows the strengths and weaknesses and he knows the recruiting. He’s an excellent recruiter, a great X’s and O’s guy, and he just relates well to people.

“So he has all the characteristics of a head coach. My other guys are very similar as well. We’re hopeful with Marty. He’s done an amazing job this year.”

Like Enfield before his two FGCU seasons, the 36-year-old Richter never has been a head coach. But his former coach said he was instrumental in the Eagles’ two-year 41-28 run, including this season’s dramatic sprint to the Sweet 16.

In fact, Enfield spoke with FGCU athletic director Ken Kavanagh — as he was two years ago, a one-man search committee — about Richter, who already has interviewed.

“Sure,” Enfield said. “I strongly recommended Marty, and I think he’d be terrific.”

Today marks the second week of the search. When it began, Kavanagh said he hoped to have his new coach within three weeks.

As was the case two years ago, Kavanagh has declined specific comment on candidates, but did say two weeks ago that Richter was the leading candidate because of proximity.

And he seemed to indicate a decision is near.

“We’re moving,” Kavanagh said. “We’re making good progress is all I can say.”

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