Florida Gulf Coast goes big time — by firing a coach?


Florida Gulf Coast has been a D-I school for nearly four years, but it decided to act like one on Thursday.

Well, at least how many D-I schools are acting lately.

The school got rid of the only coach it’s ever had, Dave Balza, who was reassigned as executive director of the Eagles Club. In nine seasons, he was 153-121 overall, but just 39-82 in four seasons in D-I. Then again, the record wasn’t entirely the problem.

People who support the program wanted him gone, according to David Moulton of the Naples News.

Balza wasn’t viewed as a guy who could elevate FGCU into a player, so enough pressure was exerted on the school to boot him. And if there’s a move made by D-I school’s lately, it’s that one. From Moulton’s column:

Fair or not, that’s a key part of Division I athletics. During the final month of last season, the same hardcore group of FGCU devotees who used to support both teams began to pull away from the men’s program. Because of it, despite having two-years on a contract, Balza realistically had one year to fix the program he built, on and off the court. Balza was able to turn the program around “on the court” late this season. The Eagles went 7-6 in conference play during the final six weeks, including winning four of their last five.

Off the court however, the damage was done. The relationship was broken. The fans on their way out of Alico Arena were essentially telling athletic director Ken Kavanagh, “We’ll stick around when you get a new coach.”

When will this change? Never. Money funds all this. And when the people with the money want a move done, you make a move. Unless you want to find a new job as well.

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