Haden, 'We want to make basketball relevant'

USC athletic director Pat Haden and new head basketball coach Andy Enfield spoke with the media for the first time on a Tuesday conference call. Enfield explained his vision and plan for the USC basketball program...

USC athletic director Pat Haden was emphatic during Tuesday's teleconference with new men's basketball coach Andy Enfield and the local Los Angeles media that he wants to make USC's basketball program relevant.

Only time will tell if his new head coach can bring a program stuck in the shadows of football to the spotlight, but in the meantime Haden's decision to hire Enfield certainly created a national buzz that lasted the entire duration of the 24-hour news cycle.

The Trojans officially announced the hiring of the former Florida Gulf Coast coach Monday evening on Twitter, where Enfield's name as well as USC quickly became Worldwide trending topics.

Haden calls the buzz after hiring the coach of this year's NCAA Tournament Cinderella team an "added bonus" to what he thinks Enfield can bring to USC. "I think the style of play was certainly attractive to me," Haden explained. "This is a guy who has had success his entire life, whether it be school or his business --so there were a lot of things that attracted us to him in the end.

The buzz was expected," he continued. "But really wasn't the driving force as to why we [hired him]."

Haden did admit the firm he hired to assist in the search for a new basketball coach a year ago -- who he threw 40-50 names around with – didn't come up with Enfield until late in the process.

Enfield, 43, led No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast past No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State to the Sweet 16 this season -- a round in the tournament a No. 15 seed has never played in before. The two wins turned heads and earned Florida Gulf Coast its nickname "Dunk City" for the up-tempo style of play.

It's a style that will undoubtedly draw crowds -- and recruits -- to the Galen Center.

"USC is a national school and we want to recruit a national brand for USC basketball," Enfield explained. "Our up-tempo style, we're looking for great athletes, guys that have tremendous skill coming in and also that we can develop."

Part of Enfield's plan to turn the downtrodden USC program around includes recruiting Southern California, an area even Haden said was an asset to the Trojans program and has a wealth of talent developing in its future recruiting classes.

"We need to be able to recruit Southern California," Enfield said, "as well as nationally and internationally."

Yes, USC believes this hire can put the afterthought USC basketball program on the national map.

Enfield has yet to make any decisions about his coaching staff at USC, but knows he wants it to be well rounded and flexible. His search for assistants will get underway in the coming days and into the Final Four weekend. Throughout the conference call, Enfield expressed his desire to take the Pac-12 Conference Trojans and make them a team recognized across the country. He wants the coaches he hires to enable that plan. "We want to create a national brand of basketball and I need coaches on my staff that can recruit anywhere in the country," he explained, adding he will look to find a staff member who has ties to Los Angeles and Southern California to assist in local recruiting.

Enfield, a Pennsylvania native, will be a newcomer on the West Coast with his previous coaching experience only leading as far west as Milwaukee, where he spent two seasons with the Bucks.

He said he was last on USC's campus "a few years ago".

Enfield will be reintroduced to Troy on Wednesday at his introductory press conference, "I just know it's a tremendous place from what everyone tells me," he said.

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