When FAU announced Dusty May’s hire in 2018, the school wrote May “accepted the challenge of building the Florida Atlantic University’s men’s basketball program into a team that will consistently compete on the national stage.”
The Owls had gone more than 20 years since they posted consecutive winning seasons. And they looked to a first-time head coach to change that.
May did not even see the gym or facilities before accepting the position. FAU’s home arena seats 2,900 fans, a stark contrast from NRG Stadium, the site of this year’s Final Four, which will hold more than 71,000.
After accepting the job, May immediately began having second thoughts and believed he had made a mistake.
He told his wife, “I just committed career suicide. I’m not good enough. I can’t do this,” according to CBS Sports.
But the 46-year-old was good enough. He was better than the school has ever seen. He has led the team to finish over .500 in each of his five seasons.
This season has rewritten the FAU history books. The Owls enter the Final Four with a program-best 35-3 record, which is the most wins in Division I this year. FAU’s four NCAA Tournament wins over the last two weeks are the only victories in the Big Dance in program history.
The Owls have participated in the postseason in three of May’s five seasons. They went to the CBI last season and the CIT in his first year.
“Dusty May is a very special coach,” Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said.
May came to Boca Raton, Fla., from Gainesville, where he was an assistant under Mike White with the Florida Gators. In his three years there, UF went to the NCAA Tournament twice. White’s brother, Brian, was named the athletics director at FAU the same month May was hired with the Owls.
Prior to Florida, May was an assistant coach with Mike White at Louisiana Tech. He previously had stops at UAB, Murray State, Eastern Michigan and USC.
A disciple of hall-of-famer Bob Knight, May graduated from Indiana in 2000 and was a student manager for the Indiana men’s basketball team.