FGCU celebrates Selection Sunday
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University men's basketball team will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever Friday. The team will be a number 15 seed and play number two seed Georgetown.
Sunday night hundreds of fans showed up at Alico Arena to see the NCAA Selection Show. They started showing up two hours before the event to see who their team's going to play in the tournament.
"When I first started we were transitioning into D1 and we knew we had a special athletics program but I tell you no one back then thought we would be here today," said FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw.
Fans watched in nervous anticipation waiting for who they would play. "it was almost a little stressful sitting there when it wasn't us," said Chase Fieler, a junior on the team. "We were like 'oh, it's not us' "
Then for the first time ever their name came up on the screen and the crowd cheered. "To hear FGCU on a national scale, it's more than just our basketball program, it's something for the whole FGCU community," said Bradshaw, happily.
"I had hoped for it," added Fieler. "I didn't know if it'd actually happen. I hoped it would happen. It's one of those things you talk about in recruiting that you'd make history and that's something we're doing now"
Bradshaw says that as president, it's very rewarding, "Well, you know, I was over on the west coast early last week and some of my collegue presidents from around the country, they came up and were congratulating us. They know us, and that's very gratifying".
But it wasn't always like that. Head Coach Andy Enfield remembers the day when he'd have to explain to recruits who FGCU is. "We'd have to explain to them- no we're a Division One university and we play basketball in the Atlantic Sun Conference. So, now this is a method of us getting, not
free exposure, but national exposure where people can hear of FGCU and realize that, hey, we have a great university here, 14,000 students. It's a young place and maybe a place that they want to go to school"
As it turns out, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Enfield. "I'm from Pennsylvania, Shippensburg, and I always enjoy going to Philly. I grew up as a 76er fan so to go back and play there it'll be special"