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Florida Atlantic basketball and head coach Dusty May are headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history. The Owls are the second No. 9 seed in NCAA Tournament history to play for a chance at the national title.
To call FAU’s run remarkable would be true, but the team has lost just three games all season. May’s fifth year at the helm has seen nearly double the amount of wins as his second-best season.
But he almost didn’t make it past year one. In fact, he almost didn’t make it past day one.
May accepted the head coaching job at FAU in March of 2018. It was his first opportunity to lead a program after serving as an assistant at Eastern Michigan, Murray State, UAB, Louisiana Tech and Florida and he jumped at the chance.
However, despite the excitement of the moment, May was met with immediate regret.
He signed the contract before taking a tour of the team’s facilities. He hadn’t even seen the gym.
Once May got his chance to look around, the reality set in.
May was thrilled about his meeting with athletic director Brian White and accepted the job based almost entirely on the vibes he was getting right away. Remorse quickly came after getting his first look at the gym, weight room and locker room.
When I get to the gym, there’s a pickup game going on. The facilities weren’t up to par. And I had already accepted the job.— Dusty May, via CBS Sports
In that moment, May wanted to back to Florida and stay on as an assistant. If it wasn’t for his relationship with Gators head coach Mike White, brother of Brian, he might not have stuck around.
Dusty May almost quit on Day 1.
Ultimately, after multiple calls with Mike and conversations with his wife, May decided to stick it out at FAU. Even after he returned back to his hotel room after accepting the job and cried.
I walk in the room and I started crying and said, ‘I just committed career suicide. I’m not good enough. I can’t do this.’— Dusty May, via CBS Sports
The Owls have since made some renovations to the team facilities. May’s coaching staff even recruited to the school without showing the prospects the locker rooms, which were shared by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and the volleyball team.
Some of the first players who committed to the program under May saw the locker room for the first time after arriving on campus to begin their first semester. The coaching staff pitched the beach and the campus, and themselves.
It worked. Five years later, after beating Memphis, Fairleigh Dickinson, Tennessee and Kansas State, May and Florida Atlantic are headed to the Final Four. Good thing he didn’t quit!