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Retaining talent is longtime assistant Michael Fly’s first priority at FGCU

Following the departure of Joe Dooley, FGCU decided to hire from within to fill its coaching vacancy.

Florida Gulf Coast v Florida State Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

As is the case with many successful mid-major coaches, former FGCU head man Joe Dooley has been interviewed by many high-tier programs. In his five seasons with the Eagles, Dooley led the program to two NCAA Tournament bids and two NIT bids.

FGCU fans would have loved it if Dooley decided to stay in Fort Myers longer, but East Carolina came calling, and he accepted the job to become the Pirates’ new head coach. Dooley’s deal with ECU was made official last Wednesday.

FGCU’s own search did not last long. At 6 p.m. that same day, the Eagles’ athletic department announced that it had already found its new head coach.

Longtime FGCU assistant Michael Fly was introduced the very next day.

Fly has been a part of the Eagles’ coaching staff since the 2011-2012 season. During that time, he’s been a part of more than 150 wins, including three ASUN championships and, of course, the legendary trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013.

In his introductory press conference, Fly talked about engaging the nearby community.

“I think this will become Southwest Florida’s team. I want the feelings of 2013 to be every time we open those doors,” he said, gesturing toward Alico Arena’s entrances.

Fly is known for his work on the recruiting trail. He is responsible for landing many talented FGCU players in recent years, including Brandon Goodwin, Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell.

One of the more pressing issues for Fly to face immediately will be keeping players from transferring, or replacing those that do end up leaving. Zach Johnson, a junior all-ASUN guard in 2018, has decided to enter the NBA Draft without an agent, but will likely return to the NCAA for his final year of eligibility. However, there’s not guarantee he will be returning to FGCU if this is the case. He has reportedly drawn interest from schools like Arizona, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Xavier, and Louisville as a graduate transfer next season.

Also, sophomore forward Raysean Scott recently announced on Twitter that he would not be returning to FGCU.

There still is a possibility that more FGCU players will decide to transfer, especially due to Dooley’s departure.

Fly will have his work cut out for him if he aims to continue the success of his predecessors Andy Enfield and Dooley. If his press conference last Thursday is any indication, he will be up to the challenge.