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Bookstore Basketball: Holy Cross team makes semifinals

Alex Wilcox | Thursday, April 25, 2013


No. 1 Sophomores of Holy Cross is not a Cinderella team. 

As the defending champions, it is the tournament’s top seed, and after knocking off No. 9 Onions!!! last night, the team is on its way to a second-straight Final Four. Last year, however, Sophomores of Holy Cross was the underdog, as it came out of nowhere to win the whole tournament. 

How did the team deal with the adversity of being doubted game after game? Perhaps the team members relied on their captain, Beau Bauer, who as an undergraduate captained another Cinderella team: Florida Gulf Coast. Bauer played for the Eagles during his junior and senior years and graduated from the Fort Myers, Fla., university in 2008. While he did not play for this year’s squad, dubbed “Dunk City” during its thrilling run to the Sweet Sixteen, Bauer said he still felt all the jubilation from his alma mater’s success.

“[The NCAA tournament] was awesome,” Bauer said. “It’s really something special, only being in the second year of eligibility where [Florida Gulf Coast] can [compete in postseason play], and I think that created some momentum now. [The Eagles] just hired one of the best assistant coaches in Division I basketball [former Kansas assistant coach Joe Dooley], so it’s exciting to watch. I think they’ll continue with the “Dunk City” style, and I’m excited to see where it’ll go.”

Wherever Florida Gulf Coast goes in upcoming years, it will be without its head coach Andy Enfield, who left the school earlier this month to take the head coaching position at USC. 

Bauer, who never played for Enfield, said he was disappointed to see him leave after such a successful season, but he is ultimately grateful for the time Enfield spent coaching at FGCU.

“Working at Notre Dame, you hate to see [Enfield] go to USC, but if he has to,” Bauer said. “At the end of the day, coaching is a profession where you’re only hot when you’re hot, and there’s no guarantee he would have been in the same position he is [in] when the team finishes this year or next year. He has a family, he has his own goals and you’ve got to be thankful for the job he did and where he took the program.”

Although Florida Gulf Coast lost its coach, who was just as popular for his supermodel wife as he was for his coaching skills, Bauer sees a bright future for his alma mater.

“There are a lot of schools at that [mid-major] level for a while, if you look at Xavier, or some of the other mid-major schools that are now powerhouses,” Bauer said. “Butler had coaches every two or three years to get that thing going. Now [Butler’s] coach [Brad] Stevens, [VCU coach] Shaka Smart, they’re sticking around and creating a program there, and I think Florida Gulf Coast has those same aspirations.”

On the court, Bauer and his teammates play with all the swagger and confidence exhibited by “Dunk City” and believe they have what it takes to win back-to-back titles.

“I think we’ll win,” Bauer said of his team’s chances. “I hope we do. We’ve got a tough [game] tomorrow night. There are two good teams coming up now, so we have to get through tomorrow night first. But I think if we make it to Saturday, these guys will do a pretty good job.”

Contact Alex Wilcox at awilcox1@nd.edu