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Former Gonzaga coach celebrates top seed
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 17, 2013 @ 11:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
On the night Gonzaga received its historic first No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, former coach Dan Monson spent some time reminiscing. He remembered the nights he spent as a young coach, sitting around a table with Mark Few and other Bulldogs assistants more than a decade ago, dreaming of ways to win big at a small school in Spokane, Wash. They were “cocky and brash and young,” Monson said.
“We sat around and had beers and thought about what the program could be, but I don’t think we ever had that many beers,” Monson said by phone Sunday night. “This is just incomprehensible.”
Monson, who was an assistant from 1988-1997 and the Zags’ head coach the subsequent two years, said the program’s growth from the point where it had never won a West Coast Conference title to a No. 1 tournament seed makes him proud. He knows Few, the team’s current head coach, probably already is focused on preparing for its opening game against Southern, so the current staff probably isn’t enjoying this moment as much as he is. Monson called the seeding a “program reward.”
Gonzaga’s No. 1 seed also sends a message, Monson said. It shows mid-majors and all schools outside the major power conferences that, if you schedule tough and play well, you can be rewarded.
“If they’re not going to get a No. 1 seed, the (committee) is basically saying it’s impossible for a school from the non-power six,” said Monson, now the head coach at Long Beach State. “It made a great statement.”
Monson’s current team will play in the NIT this week, but he plans on returning home to Spokane around Easter. If Gonzaga goes to the Final Four, he’s already told Few he’s going with the team.
Reaching the Final Four would be yet another monumental step for this Bulldog program; the Zags haven’t been past the Elite Eight, which they reached in Monson’s final season. He said this current team – led by redshirt junior Kelly Olynyk – has the talent to go even farther.
“They picked a great year to have their best team,” Monson said. … [For more on Former Gonzaga coach Dan Monson celebrates Bulldogs' top seed, click here.]
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