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23dpg
10-14-2009, 03:50 PM
About a decade ago, Gonzaga's basketball team shot into the national consciousness with a magical run in the NCAA tourney. Soon thereafter, its coach, Dan Monson, bolted for the "greener pastures" of Minnesota only to find failure. Meanwhile, Mark Few took the Zags from flash-in-the-pan material to a respected and perhaps even feared program. Here's the football angle: Look at the Dan Hawkins-to-Colorado situation. Is this a cautionary tale about loyalty?
-- Kyle Barhamand, Chicago

It's a fair parallel between Monson and Few at Gonzaga and Hawkins and Chris Petersen at Boise State. In both cases, the first guy put the program on the map while the successor -- who had already played a key role as an assistant -- took it to the next level. However, the subsequent downfalls of Monson and Hawkins probably have less to do with loyalty than fit.

Let's face it, jumping from one job to the next is part of the sport. Urban Meyer suffered no such comeuppance for jumping from Utah to Florida. Obviously, his skills translated just fine to the next level. Hawkins' have not. And I don't think it's a coincidence that Meyer, at the time, was universally regarded as a home-run hire by Florida whereas Colorado's choice of Hawkins raised doubts from the get-go.

Meyer was groomed by coaches like Earle Bruce and Lou Holtz and had experience recruiting players to major programs. Hawkins spent his entire previous career at outposts like Sonoma State and Willamette, where his unconventional ways obviously played well and where he worked with the type of "hidden gem" players with which he built the Broncos. When Colorado hired him, the single biggest question was whether he'd be able to recruit at the highest level. It's pretty clear he hasn't been able to do so. Colorado's talent level is abysmal.

That doesn't mean Hawkins can't coach. I just think he's better suited to a small-school environment. And that may help explain why Petersen has remained at Boise (despite interest from UCLA, among others) and Few at Gonzaga. They know where they're most comfortable.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/stewart_mandel/10/14/mailbag/1.html#ixzz0TxAqo6Sk
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cjm720
10-14-2009, 07:33 PM
Except Few and Co can recruit.

Good read, thx.

Go Zags!!!!

MickMick
10-14-2009, 08:26 PM
A lame reason why Mark Few remains at Gonzaga.

I propose a reverse way of thinking. Put Izzo at Pepperdine, Williams at USF, Self at (any WCC school to be named here including Gonzaga). The question is, could they recruit at this level and achieve similar sustained success? Could they find players that are not top 50 and develop them to a level to consistently compete with anybody? Could they do more with less? I would guess that they may be able to do as well, but I doubt they would do better.

Nevtelen
10-14-2009, 09:26 PM
A lame reason why Mark Few remains at Gonzaga.

I propose a reverse way of thinking. Put Izzo at Pepperdine, Williams at USF, Self at (any WCC school to be named here including Gonzaga). The question is, could they recruit at this level and achieve similar sustained success? Could they find players that are not top 50 and develop them to a level to consistently compete with anybody? Could they do more with less? I would guess that they may be able to do as well, but I doubt they would do better.

The problem with that argument is that a lot of coaches have come up through mid-major jobs into their current positions. No one would question what, say, Calipari could do at a mid-major because of what he did at UMass. The same for the majority of big-time coaches (though not all). They have generally proved themselves at the mid-major level.

OTOH, it's one thing to build a good team for a couple of years and capitalize on it to get a bigger job and totally another thing to keep up that level of quality year after year after year like Few and Co.

zag67
10-14-2009, 10:50 PM
I think that this has been said in many different ways, but Few and Gonzaga have created a perfect storm. By that I mean you first have to have a coach and staff that is fantastic at recruiting, coaching and creating a great consistent basketball program.

But to make it work after the start, you have to have an athletic director, school, and alumni that wants it to succeed. The school has done a great job in paying Few a reasonable salary and at the same time has done a super job for paying the assistants. This keeps your team of coaches in place to keep the program moving forward.

The coaches will go anywhere to find and then bring in great recruits. The existing players then engage with them and those they like, they make them feel like family. They also recruit players that want to improve and make it to the next level. They are not the 5 star players who are gone after one year, but the players know with hard work they can make it to the next level.

Bogozags
10-15-2009, 05:30 AM
I have NEVER looked at this program from that point of view and it is a great question...could those coaches from high profile schools do as well in this conference as they do at the BCS schools? I think not as major college basketball is just not about X's and O's.

I agree with you MM and think this is a great point!





A lame reason why Mark Few remains at Gonzaga.

I propose a reverse way of thinking. Put Izzo at Pepperdine, Williams at USF, Self at (any WCC school to be named here including Gonzaga). The question is, could they recruit at this level and achieve similar sustained success? Could they find players that are not top 50 and develop them to a level to consistently compete with anybody? Could they do more with less? I would guess that they may be able to do as well, but I doubt they would do better.

gamagin
10-15-2009, 07:55 AM
I think that this has been said in many different ways, but Few and Gonzaga have created a perfect storm. By that I mean you first have to have a coach and staff that is fantastic at recruiting, coaching and creating a great consistent basketball program.

But to make it work after the start, you have to have an athletic director, school, and alumni that wants it to succeed. The school has done a great job in paying Few a reasonable salary and at the same time has done a super job for paying the assistants. This keeps your team of coaches in place to keep the program moving forward.

The coaches will go anywhere to find and then bring in great recruits. The existing players then engage with them and those they like, they make them feel like family. They also recruit players that want to improve and make it to the next level. They are not the 5 star players who are gone after one year, but the players know with hard work they can make it to the next level.

and that is what we fortunately have at Gonzaga at this time.

With the change in administration at the top (Spitzer), I just hope the situation does not change. There is no reason to shake things up, given the success, but there are no guarantees.

Go Zags !

titopoet
10-15-2009, 08:42 AM
That doesn't mean Hawkins can't coach. I just think he's better suited to a small-school environment. And that may help explain why Petersen has remained at Boise (despite interest from UCLA, among others) and Few at Gonzaga. They know where they're most comfortable.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/stewart_mandel/10/14/mailbag/1.html#ixzz0TxAqo6Sk
Get a free NFL Team Jacket and Tee with SI Subscription

I think that Gary Parrish is right on why he doesn't use the mid-major moniker (http://www.searchingforbillyedelin.com/2009/10/14/1084102/preseason-q-a-with-cbssports-coms).

I resent the idea Few stays at GU because he is comfortable in a small environment, implying that he stays as a big fish in a small pond. I am sorry GU is a big fish in the biggest pond, the NCAA tourney.

Gonzaga now is bigger program than many if not most BCS programs and that is a testament to the job Few has done. Going to a Minnesota at the time was a step up for Coach Monson, though the key to that phrase is "at the time." No longer. Now Few going to a school like Minnesota (or Colorado, Northwestern to use Parrish's examples, or WSU and Washington much closer to home) would actually be a huge step down.

Because of name recognition, past performance, TV exposure, and resources, GU is a top twenty program. To be a step up, now Few would have to go to one of the glory schools, Duke, UNC, Kanas, UCLA, Kentucky and Arizona, but another decade like the one past then GU joins those programs. GU is among the best of the non-BSC schools like Memphis, and Xaiver. It no surprise that the each of the last two schools lost their coaches to one of the Glory schools.

It's time to resent those who ask why Few stays at small program, as one of the ESPN guys joked last year (I can't remember who), The mystery is why does Few stay at a perennial top 25 program and NCAA tourney team when he can have any mediocre BCS job in the country. The punchline is that Few would have to take a step down to take most BCS jobs.

Is it any wonder that when a BCS school beats us, it is consider a big win? No. it is a big win for them. Beating a power like GU is a big deal, because GU is a major power in NCAA basketball.

Before I jump off my soapbox:
Few stays at GU because it is one of the plum jobs in College Basketball, one most NCAA coaches, whether at BCS or non-BCS school, covet.

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