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zagfan24
01-17-2009, 05:50 AM
Steiny (NYC): Do you think Mark Few is one of the best coaches in the country?

SportsNation Kyle Whelliston: Nobody has done more with a smaller budget, on a more consistent basis. I think one of his most underrated characteristics is how much of an outspoken ambassador he's been for his own program. A lot of coaches might consider following that lead.

theirishzag03
01-17-2009, 08:08 AM
smaller budget?

I would venture a guess not many other WCC teams have a private jet. Nor TV contracts that televise nearly every game.He has dominated the WCC.

Is he a great coach? Yes! (for the WCC for sure) But I wouldn't say if he had gone to Minnesota like Dan did, he would have the Gophers where Tubby Smith does. Maybe, just not sure.

Also- how long is the "best" list? 5, 10,20,50?

Had Sutton not been at USF just to notch a couple self-glorious wins, it would have been interesting to see how he faired.

It is hard to seperate "great programs" from "best coaches" because usually the great programs get the best coaches.

ZaginLaw
01-17-2009, 08:42 AM
Irish- the Zags budget is small. Kyle is comparing the Zag with national programs, not WCC schools. For example, Oregon State University's budget dwarfs the Zags budget. It's been said here that Zags' total budget is comparable to the recruiting budget some P10 schools have.

No bball program has done so much with so little.

bartruff1
01-17-2009, 08:43 AM
The converse might be true....just maybe the great coaches create and maintain great programs. I supect his comparison was not to the WCC but to all of college basketball. In light of the record you would have to be a moron in the traditional sense of having a IQ below 80 to not recognize Few as a great coach. Really, this cat is flat.

FuManShoes
01-17-2009, 08:47 AM
A lot of the luxuries you speak of, Irish, didn't come along until well into "the run." The jet's been in use for what, the last 2 or 3 years? And GU doesn't own it. K2, also just a few years old. Few was winning without that stuff to attract recruits. I think the ambassador stuff is often overlooked. While I sometimes question Few's decisions - because I have that luxury from my couch - there is no questioning his devotion to GU, basketball and higher causes. A lot of that work has translated into publicity for GU, and consequently, games on big stages and interest from recruits.

The stats below show Gonzaga is nowhere near the top 50 in BB spending but is consistently in the top 25 on the court. Seems like doing more with less.

http://www.bbstate.com/schools/GONZ

Athletic Revenues (2007) $13,623,182
Rank full chart 162 of 339

Athletic Expenses (2007) $9,868,837
Rank full chart 208 of 339

Men's Basketball Expenses (2007) $2,141,330 (22% of total)
Rank full chart 96 of 339

Men's Sports Recruit Exp. (2007)* $161,765
Rank 165 of 339

Cost per Win (2006-07 Season) $93,101.30 (29 wins)
Rank (less cost=better) full chart 178 of 335

ZagNative
01-17-2009, 09:06 AM
Per bbstate.com, the top 25 schools for basketball expenses (for 2006-07, the most recent year for which they show stats):

1 $9,204,755 Kentucky (SEC)
2 $8,134,621 Florida (SEC)
3 $8,010,066 Duke (ACC)
4 $7,993,191 Marquette (BIGEAST)
5 $6,813,736 Syracuse (BIGEAST)
6 $6,594,163 Texas (BIG12)
7 $6,407,390 Michigan State (BIG10)
8 $6,388,405 Texas Tech (BIG12)
9 $6,363,387 Connecticut (BIGEAST)
10 $6,258,741 Texas A&M (BIG12)
11 $6,237,243 Vanderbilt (SEC)
12 $6,170,233 Kansas (BIG12)
13 $6,082,104 Louisville (BIGEAST)
14 $6,011,514 Arkansas (SEC)
15 $5,718,590 Iowa (BIG10)
16 $5,632,518 North Carolina (ACC)
17 $5,404,221 Virginia (ACC)
18 $5,395,535 Boston College (ACC)
19 $5,315,234 Wisconsin (BIG10)
20 $5,299,018 Michigan (BIG10)
21 $5,262,775 UCLA (PAC10)
22 $5,056,570 Iowa State (BIG12)
23 $4,942,257 Indiana (BIG10)
24 $4,816,023 Miami (Fla.) (ACC)
25 $4,802,437 Washington (PAC10)

Where Gonzaga fits it:

88 $2,351,125 Washington State (PAC10)
89 $2,330,629 UAB (C-USA)
90 $2,224,925 Mississippi State (SEC)
91 $2,218,869 Wisconsin-Milwaukee (HL)
92 $2,198,791 Marshall (C-USA)
93 $2,188,279 Rhode Island (A-10)
94 $2,165,364 Old Dominion (CAA)
95 $2,143,715 Houston (C-USA)
96 $2,141,330 Gonzaga (WCC)
97 $2,058,038 South Florida (BIGEAST)
98 $2,050,065 San Diego (WCC)

bartruff1
01-17-2009, 09:18 AM
When you guys come up with facts...I guessed we were getting a bargin but that is amazing. Talk about a bang for your buck, I'm going to give some more this year....

UberZagFan
01-17-2009, 09:39 AM
Steiny (NYC): Do you think Mark Few is one of the best coaches in the country?

SportsNation Kyle Whelliston: Nobody has done more with a smaller budget, on a more consistent basis. I think one of his most underrated characteristics is how much of an outspoken ambassador he's been for his own program. A lot of coaches might consider following that lead.

Good posts ZN and Fu. Certainly, those numbers back up Whelliston claim that nobody has done more with a smaller budget.

What's interesting though is his answer. The question is if Few is one of the best coaches in the country. The answer is yes -- he's got one of the best winning percentages in the past 10 years, has done it with litte, if any, 5 star recruits and/or McDs AAs; and he's willing to play (and beat) top-flight programs year in and year out.

This guy's answer is almost a slight.

ZagNative
01-17-2009, 09:57 AM
bbstate.com is just a really neat site. I subscribe for about $13 per year, which is an amazing bargain, for all it provides. Rooting around just now, I found this chart of our average margin of victory since 1994. Am I reading that right, that just just two games into our conference season, and with some tough OOC games behind us, it looks like we've had our biggest average scoring margin since '94?

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Screenprints/Stats/Fullscreencapture1172009104449AMbmp.jpg

gamagin
01-17-2009, 10:31 AM
good stuff.

Zag365
01-17-2009, 01:24 PM
Or just a conversation opener. Obviously by any statistical measure (as evidenced by this string), Few is one of the best coaches in country. Based on what other coaches and Zag players have said about him, I don't think the stats lie.

Could he have done it somewhere else to the same degree? IMO, probably. But who knows/cares. A good coach can be unsuccessful at a BCS school for reasons other than coaching ability. In Few's case, hopefully we'll never find out. Few has been so perfect for Gonzaga on so many levels and vice-versa, this marriage should never end.

theirishzag03
01-17-2009, 11:21 PM
Remember Few was in the running for the Hoosier's job, then decided to bow out and Kelvin Sampson eventually took the job.

Had Mark Few gone to Indiana, how do you think the Hoosiers would be doing? Would Few have fared better than Dan did at Minnesota. Fresh off an Elite 8 appearance to a BCS school, he never won an NCAA tournament game while heading the Golden Gophers. Would Few have won as many games as Kelvin Sampson. Winning was not Sampson's problem, nor was recruiting (Eric Gordon) but ethics were.

I think Few IS Great, just not convinced he is a GREAT coach, beyond the WCC. A deep run in March could sway my opinion, but until he reaches the Elite Eight as Monson did he will have no way to prove it. People (myself included) really only have Monson to use as a precident. Here was a coach that led us to a record level, and he failed on a bigger stage, with a bigger budget, and supposedly better recruits. So the only way for Few to prove he is great is to outcoach great coaches in March. The Zags have more talent than 98% of the teams in college basketball, so a trip to the Fianl Four depends on coaching now.

I hope he proves he is GREAT!

ToreroStudent
01-17-2009, 11:36 PM
Just wanted to comment on what an awesome site that is. I had no idea that even existed! I'm pretty surprised that we spend nearly as much as you guys. I guess Ky Snyder isn't lying when he says he wants wins. 2 mil + is a good chunk of cash for a small private school.

FuManShoes
01-18-2009, 12:24 AM
So the only way for Few to prove he is great is to outcoach great coaches in March. The Zags have more talent than 98% of the teams in college basketball, so a trip to the Fianl Four depends on coaching now.

Wrong. Sorry, but wrong.

GoZags
01-18-2009, 03:39 AM
Remember Few was in the running for the Hoosier's job, then decided to bow out and Kelvin Sampson eventually took the job.



Actually. Few was never in the running for the Indiana job (or any other job there's been speculation about).

theirishzag03
01-18-2009, 08:59 AM
Seems a bit of wasted time to contact a coach and tell him he is no longer a candidate if he weren't in the running to begin with.

http://lockedonsports.blogspot.com/2006/03/kelvin-sampson-not-mark-few-at-indiana.html

FuMan- here is my logic- 347 schools in Division I (32 conferences) 2% of 347 is ~7. We were ranked 4th and 7th already this season. Many people and "experts" included think Zags or thought Zags had Final Four talent and potential. Most of the Preseaon analysts had us in the top 10 and most of those are based on "talent." The 2006 recruiting class (Ira, Austin, Steven, and Robert) was ranked 11th nationally. So out o thef 347 schools, 11th puts that class ahead of 96.9% of the rest of the country. Mix in 3 seniors not included in that class. Yes 98% may be a tad high and just a random number, but I think you get my point. Even during the Maryland game, the announcers made references to Gonzaga having more talent than ACC traditional power Maryland.

TacomaZAG
01-18-2009, 09:16 AM
I hear where you are coming from. Also, thanks ZagFan and ZagNative for digging up the stats. I love the #25 school on the list in basketball spending (Fuskies), talk about doing less with more.......

There is just so much that goes into a FF run at the dance, not the least of which is timing of injuries and simple good/bad luck. Certainly, coaching is a big part of it, as is preparation, but to get that deep there are a number of factors that are simply out of the coaches hands.

Just enjoy the ride, so many schools and fans never get to experience what we have enjoyed every game for the last decade and more.

Go ZAGS

FuManShoes
01-18-2009, 09:39 AM
I hear where you are coming from. Also, thanks ZagFan and ZagNative for digging up the stats. I love the #25 school on the list in basketball spending (Fuskies), talk about doing less with more.......

There is just so much that goes into a FF run at the dance, not the least of which is timing of injuries and simple good/bad luck. Certainly, coaching is a big part of it, as is preparation, but to get that deep there are a number of factors that are simply out of the coaches hands.

Just enjoy the ride, so many schools and fans never get to experience what we have enjoyed every game for the last decade and more.

Go ZAGS

This is what I was getting at, Irish. Certainly coaching adjustments and preparation are critical during the tourney, but how many certifiably, indisputably great coaches (Roy Williams, Coach K, etc, etc) have seen their teams taken down early by a miracle shot or an opponent who just wanted it more that day? Does that make them any less of a coach? I think coaches are judged by their body of work, not a few cardiac games in March. Few has consistently gotten his teams, regardless of their recruiting pedigree, to beat or be in position to beat more athletic, better funded and higher ranked teams in hostile environments. The collapses have been mighty painful and suggest work needs to be done on end of game situations, but taken as a whole, GU nearly always plays up to if not beyond its ability. That consistency and the way Few has grown and sustained the program are what makes him a great coach.

bartruff1
01-18-2009, 09:59 AM
Actually. Few was never in the running for the Indiana job (or any other job there's been speculation about). Boy, that is a simple declarative sentence. Are you at liberty to explain how you can say that with such assurance ??

theirishzag03
01-18-2009, 11:15 AM
If you read the link to the story on lockedonsports it would suggest otherwise. Read the comments on the blog below the short story. Sure seems a "few" people thought he had a shot.

Also, not trying for a pizzin match Fu-, but...obviously budgets don't always= success- Tampa Bay Rays budget compared to Yankees, Phillies compared to Mets, Cowboys tried to buy a SB trip.... money doesn't always matter. Money can buy a clock , but not time. Some things are not purchaseable.

But the difference between Few and the coaches you mentioned is they have won National Titles.

My list of current "Great Coaches" would include Calhoun, coach K, Billy Donovan, Bill Self, Tubby Smith, Gary and Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim, Ben Howland, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Tom crean, Bruce Pearl, Mike Montgomery, Bo Ryan, and Thad Matta -throw in Don Meyer who just passed Knight for most wins, while fighting cancer found after an auto wreck that resulted in losing a leg!

That is 18 pretty darn good coaches-Throw in the fact we have been upset in most of our recent exits from the tourney and I find it hard to say Few is one of THE GREATEST coaches in the country. He is in the top 30, but surely not the top 18.

Ask yourself this, if Few left could we get any of the coaches mentioned above??? If not, why??? If your answer is "budget" what makes them not affordable- why would they be able to demand big bucks?

bartruff1
01-18-2009, 11:45 AM
I realize you have convinced yourself that Few is not a great coach by your definition but that he is a great WCC coach by your definition. I am not sure you have convinced anyone else but I do admire your persistance. Did your dad ever warn you about pissing into the wind ?? I mean, you can do it, but you are likely to get wet. So why keep doing it ??

former1dog
01-18-2009, 11:50 AM
Boy, that is a simple declarative sentence. Are you at liberty to explain how you can say that with such assurance ??

Fairly straightforward answer. To be "in the running", you have to be a candidate for the job. Although there was much media speculation over each opening, Few, to the best of my knowledge, has never applied nor accepted an interview for another coaching job. Thus, he has never been in the running for any head coaching job other than the one he currently occupies.

bartruff1
01-18-2009, 11:55 AM
It is your definition of "in the running". There is a lot of that in here.

theirishzag03
01-18-2009, 04:41 PM
I do think Few is a "Great" coach for this situation.

But I do not think he would dominate the ACC or SEC or Big East if given the opportunity. He found his niche. That is why he stays.

I am happy he is here. I just have to fight my expectations that were set high in 1999. So when I see more talent here and less acheivement I get frustrated. Think of how hard it will be to follow in Mike Shanahan's shoes? 2 Super Bowls and Denver thinks it can do better? Joe Torre?

zag67
01-18-2009, 06:43 PM
Well Irish, I probably would like to disagree on many aspects of your logic.

1st - Picking one year that we were able to rank 11th in recruiting and then using that to compare the last 10 years is somewhat illogical. When you look at 2001 thru 2004 (I did not go earlier than that), I think that there was only about 1 or 2 three star players.

2nd - When you talk of coaches that dominate the SEC or ACC, I do not think that any of the coaches that you mentioned win it each year either. And some of them have been missing the tournament multiple times during the last few years.

3rd - Getting any of them to come into the northwest, with or without money would not be reasonable. Because they know how hard it would be to recruit at a school like GU and then try to get the best teams even to play you after you get a name (Like GU has).

4th - I will agree that it is hard to play down expectactions, but sometimes all of us wish we were making 10 million a year and just have a 4 year degree. Maybe we are over estimating our earnings. And in the Gu teams terms, you have to look at our top recruits for the years between 2001 and 2006 and see what Few has been able to produce with our recruits (even compare them to other top teams). And we all reallize that we could have gone farther in March multiple times.

5th - Teams like Duke, Conneticutt, UCLA, North Carolina, and Kansas have one major thing that we do not. That is when they lose a player (for any reason), they have a 4 or 5 star backup at almost every position. Now if the stars are right and no more injuries (losing Sacre really hurt), I still think we can make a run (maybe not to the finals, but we need to wait and see).

6th - I also think that you have to look at the last 4 years and look at the injuries, disipline problems, coaching change, and unexpected transfer (Theo). Theo was the strong 4 that would have given us backup against many top teams. Then look at what Few has done to regroup and organize the team for the last few years. I think it is fantastic. By the way when I say Few, I also mean the rest of his staff.

Are there things that Few, his staff, and the players do that I do not understand. - Yes, But I do think that he is one of the top coaches in basketball today. He is doing a great job of trying to find the right types of players for the system that he and the staff want them to play. Then coaching them to become better. Look at what is coming next year. Arop, Dower, and Kong (possibly one other). That might not be a set of players that any major school would even find, but our coaches know in order to make the next step, they need to find "gems". Will they make mistakes - Yes, but hopefully not that will derail the train.

theirishzag03
01-18-2009, 07:07 PM
I will agree to disagree, about a couple things. I still do not know how well he would do at a big school with 4-5 star recruits as backups. The Larry Gurganeous situation still baffles me. I think (as well as many co-workers) that he has had a harder time adjusting to coaching all of this talent. This is where I think he may lack where the big name coaches excell. X's and O's I don't doubt he is genius. But player management or promising too much to recruits can be costly to moral.

Also during the 2001-2004 we may not have had many 4-5 star recruits, but Morrison committed too early to be labeled, and we have usually had 1-2 standouts and a cast of role players. Now we have cast of standouts and 1-2 role players.

I am not saying we could do better if looking for a new coach, but I will say at the time Monson left not too many thought we were going to do better than Dan.

gozags09
01-18-2009, 07:46 PM
I've no doubt that this is Few's toughest coaching assignment. Six legitimate 20 point guys...6 guys that would like 15 shots a game...six guys that can put the team on its back...and only 200 minutes and 50-60 fg attempts a game. Egos, the bright shine of future careers in eyes...and games where they only get 4-5 legitimate touches...all make this a difficult task. Prior to Tennessee squared, Few may have pulled off his best psychologial coaching job by getting MD to agree to come off the bench, JH to bang and board, and then splitting the bulk of the Team's shots among AD, MB and SG...arguably the most versatile of our six stars.

I personally think that this has been his finest coaching season

Much like people used to say anyone could have coached the Chicago Bulls of the 90's (no comparison to the Bulls intended), this Team has proven there is more to coaching than rolling the balls off the rack to a talented Team.

Tmac5360
01-18-2009, 09:13 PM
I am not sure what Few would do in the bigger conferences. What I like most about him is his perspective. He knows that going to the final four takes a lot of things falling into place. He doesn't let that decide whether or not a season was a success. He has built a program that goes much deeper than hoops and that is very cool. He is great for our city and for GU. Would he win all these conference titles in a Big conference, not likely. But here is hoping we never find out!

Nevtelen
01-18-2009, 11:09 PM
I think Few would do comparably at a BCS school, depending on what school we're talking about. If you put him at a Rutgers or an Oregon St, obviously he wouldn't have the record he does (though I think he'd eventually have the school doing as fine as is humanly possible), but I do think that, coaching-wise, if you put Few at a Kansas or a North Carolina or a Kentucky, he could recruit well and dominate any league in the country.

Now, I don't think he'd do well at those big-time jobs for other reasons. There is a TON of media scrutiny - WAY more than at GU - and I get the impression Few doesn't love that kind of thing particularly. I also think that he's really created a unique atmosphere around GU, both with the recruits he takes and the 'family' feel that might easily get lost at most BCS schools.

titopoet
01-19-2009, 06:01 AM
Irish, to answer a couple things.

First, you asked if Few left, could we get any of the top coaches on your list. Probably not, but when Kentucky went looking for a coach, they couldn't get any of those on your list as well. I think we would be able to get a rising star, Coach Grier for instances, much like Kentucky. Do you think Arizona will get anyone on you list?

Second, on your list I notice something interesting. Few is ahead or at the same place where most of them were at the same time in their career (first decade). Roy Williams when he was at Kansas had a rep of not being able to win the big one (Remember him being schooled by Don Haskins in early 90's) He had to learn to be a consistent winner. Calhoun had a similar rep and results until his team broke through (against GU as it turns out) I like you putting Tom Crean above Few, when Few has had more success with a smaller budget. Marquette is a great program, but not one you think of as a consistent final four contender. Few is a great coach and compared to his generation, he stacks up well. If he stays another ten years at GU, we will be talking about more final fours and elite eight runs, and maybe a national Championship or two.

Rangerzag
01-19-2009, 06:43 AM
Per contract, if Few is no longer head coach, Rice takes over. No need to speculate who would come from outside.

StocktonIsMyHero
01-19-2009, 09:53 AM
Just looking at that site - talk about doing more than less, everyone's favorite Virginia Military Institute Keydets are currently 14-3 in the Big South (Winthrop's conference, for comparison) and their basketball budget is 339 out of 339 at $99,285. There's no way that could be right, but still - pretty impressive.

As for the WCC:

96 $2,141,330 Gonzaga (WCC)
98 $2,050,065 San Diego (WCC)
113 $1,790,960 San Francisco (WCC)
123 $1,651,559 Loyola Marymount (WCC)
130 $1,569,597 Pepperdine (WCC)
135 $1,512,262 Santa Clara (WCC)
151 $1,388,425 Saint Mary's (WCC)
166 $1,281,324 Portland (WCC)

Notice how low SMC is - GU spends easily 50% more than the Gaels, and probably 75% more than the Pilots. And other than San Diego, GU spends at least $500,000 more than the other schools. So we can't really pretend that the Zags don't have an advantage over the WCC. But when you compare it to BCS schools, it is pretty impressive. Of course, once you add football into the equation, money becomes a lot less of an issue.

former1dog
01-19-2009, 10:06 AM
It is your definition of "in the running". There is a lot of that in here.

I don't see a lot of controversy in the notion that one has to apply for a job to be in the running for said job. How would you like us to define "in the running"?

StocktonIsMyHero
01-19-2009, 10:19 AM
I don't see a lot of controversy in the notion that one has to apply for a job to be in the running for said job. How would you like us to define "in the running"?

Oh come on now F1D... you know that's not how it works in sports. Coaches have agents, and those agents are either contacted by schools or do the contacting themselves. I can guarantee you that Few's agent has talked with all kinds of schools about openings. Some of those conversations have likely gotten to the level of talking about salaries. So does that mean that Few was in the running for those jobs? I would say yes... at least in the sense that numbers were being discussed and interests level was being gauged. But did he technically "apply" for those jobs? No. But no one does that in sports anymore. So there is indeed gray area.

former1dog
01-19-2009, 10:26 AM
Stock,

Although I understand your point and agree that agents are heavily involved, I don't think its a caveat to my point. If Few had seriously considered any of the positions that various schools wanted him for, he would have spoken with them directly. As for money, only someone very naive would believe that Gonzaga would not be significantly outbid by just about any big job. Point being, it has so far been immaterial if salaries were discussed by agents or not, that didn't and hasn't made Few a candidate for any job.

BTW - If you'd like, substitute "shown an interest in" for "apply" for a job. In other words, to become a candidate for a job, one has to have shown an interest in said job.

StocktonIsMyHero
01-19-2009, 10:36 AM
If Few had seriously considered any of the positions that various schools wanted him for, he would have spoken with them directly.

...

In other words, to become a candidate for a job, one has to have shown an interest in said job.

1) The only way Few could speak with them directly is if Gonzaga were to give permission. Haven't you paid attention to what just happened at Boston College and Jagodzinski? Somehow I doubt Roth would allow Few to talk to a bunch of possible suitors.

2) I disagree with your second point. "Just" discussing numbers doesn't mean you're not interested. If Few's agent said something like, "Put $4,000,000 on the table and then we'll talk", does that mean Few's not interested? Or does that mean that Few is only interested if the price is right? Clearly he's very happy with his job in Spokane, so really it's only money that could probably get him to leave.

zag67
01-19-2009, 04:43 PM
Stock, I would have to agree. I think that it would have to be money, the right situation as a coach, and the right area to raise a family. All of those would have to be there to even start him even to possilby think about an offer.

Look at what he has and the things he likes to do. Fishing, super place to raise a family, great backing by the administration, solid assistants that also like the area, and fans that support him and the team. Also the coaches seem to be able to find players that want to play their system.

bartruff1
01-19-2009, 06:43 PM
I don't see a lot of controversy in the notion that one has to apply for a job to be in the running for said job. How would you like us to define "in the running"? That you are in the running if you are under consideration or have been approached formally or informally about your interest in the job. If you were asked to interview for the job I would think you are in the running. I don't know that coaching candidates actually apply for a job ? In my own experience, I never applied for a job unless it was just a formallity. Someone always asked if I would be interested and if I didn't say "no thanks " we would start a negotiation and that is the way I approached people that I was interested in hiring . You must know something I don't but my suspicion is that if Coach Few had shown some interest he would have been the front runner in the running. But that is just my opinion.