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Season Preview: CHD sits down with new FGCU coach Joe Dooley

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around.  Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with new FGCU coach Joe Dooley about taking over one of the greatest Cinderellas in NCAA history. 

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In April you were named head coach at Florida Gulf Coast. How much pressure do you feel after the amazing run last March by Andy Enfield and the rest of “Dunk City”? One of the reasons I took the job is because there are some expectations but we have a sound foundation to build on.

Your non-conference road schedule includes trips to Nebraksa, NC State, and Mississippi State. Which of these games do you feel will present your biggest test? We will have our hands full with NC State and TJ Warren, but Nebraska will be different because we start our season with them in their brand new arena.

Your team returns four of its top five scorers. How much of an advantage will your team’s experience give you and what are your expectations for the upcoming season? We have some guys who have been through the wars, including three juniors who have played a lot of minutes. Hopefully we will have confidence from our run last year and be able to keep it going forward.

You played basketball at George Washington, where you were named team captain as a senior. How good a player were you back in the day and what is the key to being a good leader? I was fair to partly cloudy as a player! Leaders have to be responsible.

In the 1991 NIT, as an assistant at South Carolina you had a six point win over GW. Was it just another game for you or did it feel weird to face your alma mater? It was different because I had played with a couple of the GW players, but once the ball is tipped you focus on the game.

From 1995-1999, you were head coach at ECU. What did you learn from that gig? It was a good experience because I learned how to manage things and what it takes to be a coach.

In 2003, you became an assistant to Bill Self at Kansas. What makes Self such a great coach and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He holds everyone accountable and strives for consistency in effort. He has a great feel for the pulse of his team.

In the magical 2008 NCAA tourney, Stephen Curry scored 25 points but Jason Richards missed a 25 footer at the buzzer in a two point win over Davidson. How were you able to keep Curry from getting one final look at the basket? We did a good job of switching on defense to not allow him an easy look.

Tourney MOP Mario Chalmers made a three point shot with 2.1 seconds left in regulation en route to a seven point overtime win over Memphis in the title game. Where does “Mario’s Miracle” rank among the most clutch shots you have ever seen and what did it mean to you to win a title? It was a dream come true to win a title. Mario made a lot of clutch shots for us on that very same play, as we practiced it time and time again.  It was huge because it helped us get to overtime.

In the 2010 NCAA tourney, Ali Farokhmanesh scored 16 points including a three point shot with 34 seconds left in a two point win by Northern Iowa. Were you stunned when he took the game-clinching shot despite having over 30 seconds left on the shot clock and a one point lead? We were stunned based on the time and score, but it was a gutsy shot by the kid and the rest as they say is history.

In the 2012 NCAA tourney title game, tourney MOP Anthony Davis had 12 rebounds, six blocks and three steals in an eight point win by Kentucky. How was Davis able to be so dominant despite shooting 1-10 from the field? The impact he had around the rim: he changed so many shots on defense and you still had to guard him on offense.

JonTeitel