View Full Version : How did you get to be a GU fan/student?

04-17-2007, 01:02 AM
Just out of curiosity..I'm sure there are stories that are much more interesting than mine, and I'd love to hear some of them.

I went to school in Sandpoint and frankly, wanted to go to a Catholic University and didn't have a better idea. I was accepted to a few east coast schools (I'm sure because I was from Idaho) but didn't want the travel time/expense...and couldn't afford it at the time. I'm the oldest of 5, my dad wasn't wild about plane tickets to Duke....thank God in heaven I didn't go there. In the end, I met my amazing wife and will cherish my days at GU to the grave. Through basketball..in a small way, they continue.

One of my biggest regrets at GU was not taking advantage more thoroughly of the basketball/athletic programs (as a fan, obviously, the only thing I've done with a basketball is break my fingers...repeatedly...I gave it up.) In fact, while I attended some games, it was always as a student/casual/social observer...not a real fan. Only later in life did I realize what a great way it was to connect with fellow alums/local fans in Spokane and the surrounding areas. My wife and I were married by F. Tony, and that connection kept us attached to the school and the basketball program. Since then, my rabid "fanism" has grown to include my extended family, kids, and many many new friends. While y'all are anonymous, I include many of you on that list as well.

Please...someone has to have come from further, been here for a better reason or have a better family connection to the U.

Special note to the "old timers" at GU, what are your impressions of the U as it has grown changed and remained the same to its core values?

04-17-2007, 01:14 PM
I was interested in Gonzaga because a couple of friends of mine, who were older, attended.

When my Dad found out I was interested, he was all for it and that was all I needed to here as my Dad's opinion was always golden to me. He had attended GU his freshman year, but then transferred to the U of Montana for Pharmacy school. My uncle played baseball for GU and I have several cousins that attended as well. The Weinand family (Quincy, WA), in case anybody knows any of those folks.

Once at GU, I competed in XC and Track, so in that respect I became a Bulldog. That really didn't make me the fanatic I am today, though. I still went to the games and all, I just wasn't a nut, yet.

I think what ultimately started to really spark my fandom is when my friend from back home was recruited to play ball for GU. Some of you might remember him, Felix McGowan. We were buddies from 5th grade through to high school and graduated together. He originally went to Montana State, but had a falling out with the coach after his first year and so he transferred to North Idaho. There he caught the eye of the GU coaching staff and was offered the schollie. Having that personal connection really got me started. Of course, it didn't hurt that that was when they started to turn the corner as a program.

As I recall, we were in the WCC championship game at least one of the season's Felix played. He also pulled a couple of wins out of his keister for Gonzaga in WCC play with some spectacular offense.

Anywho, there was no looking back after that and I've just been getting worse (or better, depending on perspective) ever since.

04-17-2007, 01:58 PM
Mine is not incredibly interesting, but I like to share...

I was a huge college basketball fan when I was in high school, but my favorite team was...Duke. The skeleton is out of the closet! Of course, I wanted to attend Duke because of its reputation, not because of the basketball program. :) I applied to and was accepted at Duke, but the thought of moving across the country was a little daunting to me (I am from Nampa, ID). Plus, I don't think they offered me enough in the way of scholarships, so I began to explore other options. I was looking hard at Pepperdine and even UC Berkeley, but then one day, a recruiter from Gonzaga came to my high school. I met with him and was impressed with what the school had to offer. And it was both far and close enough to my parents--far enough to do my own thing (and not be caught) yet close enough for me to go home fairly often. My school counselor was really jazzed about my interest in Gonzaga for some reason, and sent off my application without my essay. I was still accepted, I have no idea how that happened. :confused: Maybe my reputation preceded me. Ha.

I only remember going to a handful of games in the Kennel, I was usually too distracted by other "social engagements" to attend. Only recently did I realize that Steve Nash attended Santa Clara the same years I was at GU. I had friends that played lacrosse and rugby, and I actually lived with two soccer players my freshman year, but sports where on the periphery for me at that time.

If I remember correctly, I became the rabid GU basketball fan that I am today during the Elite 8 run in 99. I remember watching the games at work, just so excited that my little alma mater was creating such a huge stir. Now college basketball season is my favorite time of the year!

04-17-2007, 04:58 PM
Don't have time to post my story, but I just wanted to say this is a great thread idea (esp during the offseason)

04-17-2007, 05:48 PM
Attended one of last summer's basketball camps. Loved the campus and atmosphere, followed the team awhile before that, but fell in lurv with the team after that. Die hard Zag fan.

04-17-2007, 05:50 PM
I lived in Ohio and had lived there all 18 years of my life. First and foremost, I wanted a change. I had been following Gonzaga basketball avidly for a while and began to look further into the school. It had exactly what I wanted--small class sizes, good History/Poly Sci program, an involved community, no sororities/fraternities, and of course, the basketball team.

The only problem was that my parents didn't want me to go all the way across the nation. I fought like hell to convince them all through high school to no avail. They wanted me close to home, and there wasn't anything I could seemingly do about it. Both my brother and sister went to OU and OSU respectively, and my parents wanted to keep us all close. I can't blame them for it, but sometimes a person just needs a change. Finally, I wrote them a letter. I'm not known for keeping my cool in arguments so I figured a letter would be a good way to get every single thought down. First, I put the financial information out there with Gonzaga compared to Ashland University, which was the best choice I had in Ohio. My parents had always said Gonzaga was too expensive, but low and behold, Gonzaga was cheaper than Ashland after factoring in financial aid.

I really wish I still had the letter saved, but I don't. After the financial information, I basically went on to say how much even a visit Gonzaga would mean to me. If I didn't like it, I would commit to Ashland. I then went on to say how they don't have to be afraid of me going so far away, and mentioned all the potential positives that would impact my life if I attended Gonzaga. It was a really emotional letter of almost two pages single spaced.

My parents said they'd think about it, which, of course, I took to mean "no." But about two weeks later, my dad sat me down and told me that he bought plane tickets to Spokane for April 27-29. I was beyond elated. He said that he was making no promises; just because I was visiting didn't mean I could necessarily attend. I agreed. On April 27th, we got to Spokane. It was about 65 degrees, a few clouds in the sky. I took this picture:


As cliche or stupid as it sounds, I knew Gonzaga was the place for me as soon as I stepped on campus. It was so beautiful and all the people were amazingly nice. When I was walking, I saw so many smiles on the students' faces. I was amazed, to say the least. I tried to downplay my enthusiasm so I didn't disappoint my parents, but I knew they could tell how I felt. On the plane back to Ohio, my dad handed me a piece of paper and told me to write the positives and negatives of both Gonzaga and Ashland. All I came up with were positives for Gonzaga, and I had a few negatives for Ashland. I committed fully to Gonzaga the next day.

Now that I'm here as a freshman, I haven't regretted a second. I love everything about Gonzaga (ok, maybe not the COG). But this place is just awesome!

04-17-2007, 06:35 PM
MBZags! What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing.

04-17-2007, 06:48 PM
Not as cool as MBZag's story, but...

I grew up in Wyoming, but wanted to go to school in the Pacific NW - I'd really loved it since my family had taken vactions to Vancouver (B.C.) and the Oregon coast when I was a kid. I applied to a few college up here and my first two choices were Reed (in Portland, in case people don't know it) and GU (in that order). I was accepted to both, but Reed doesn't give scholarships for academics (only need-based) and GU did. Plus, Reed had a bit of a, um, reputation for, um, having a lot of students who use extra-cirricular pharmaceuticals which my parents really really didn't like (though they liked the school overall). Plus, being strongly Catholic, my parents were pretty happy that I might go to a Catholic university. So, I visited, liked it, and committed.

I didn't really follow bball seriously when I was there (I went to a few games here and there), but 99 was my senior year, so I have all kinds of cool memories of that particular season. I started to get into the team more that year, then have really gotten serious in the years since (it seems like a lot of people here are like me - casual fans while at the school, hardcore fans since. Interesting).

04-17-2007, 09:26 PM
I guess you can tell by my pseudo name that I'm first of all a Coug fan. But I've also always been a Zag fan as well.

I had a good friend get me a good deal on season tickets back in the days when the only time GU sold out a game was when Loyola Marymount or another big name school came to play. Between Stockton and Santangelo. I used to take my girls and my son to the games and the girls were more interested in the cheerleaders and the snackbar than the basketball game.

But as time went on and they got older that early exposure had an effect. Now they're all well into their 20's (one's a GU alumni now) and now I'm paying list price for my season tickets, but I get a call from one or both of my girls before every game to see it they can go. My son lives out of town, but makes it back specifically for at least one Zag game a year.

I've had a lot of great times on those old hardwood benches watching the Zags and my kids grow up. Sorry if that's a little too corny, but that's my Zag story.

04-18-2007, 03:37 AM
My story is so much less interesting - primarily because I never really wanted to attend GU in the first place. I was lazy with the college admissions process, which is weird considering how strongly I wanted to go to school back east. When my plans fell through, I found myself a mile away from my high school (Gonzaga Prep). I was always a college basketball nut - UCLA then and UCLA/GU now. But this was before Gonzaga was a household name. Gonzaga wasn't an attractive option at the time - less so because 33 members of my graduating class were enrolling with me, and certainly not for the big-time Division I athletics. I still don't much like Spokane and the Gonzaga experience can still be a very depressing one if you weren't raised in or around a similar environment. Or if you like the sun.

At any rate, there are many, many things about GU that I do love. The basketball team has given me so much joy through the years - and an intimate connection with something much bigger than I. And for that, I'm grateful.

04-18-2007, 06:34 AM
I grew up at 823 E Sinto which was then about 3 blocks from campus. Between interacting with the students, messing around on campus, and being mesmerized by the photos in "Dutch's" (Blue and White, Irish etc) as a kid, I just always figured I'd go to GU. When I was a HS freshman, we had 4 GU students living with us, as the dorms were overflowing. They convinced me that I could somehow make it. Ironically, one of them was waylaid in his matriculation and we graduated in the same class. I had my SAT scores sent to GU, Ft Lewis (Durango) and Simon Frazer, not sure why the last two, just on a whim I guess. As a Sr in HS, my track coach came up to me one day and told me that if I could get my mile time under 4:30, Eastern would offer. I came down with shinsplints about a day later (for the 4th season in a row), and the rest is History. I also figured that Florence "thing" might be cool too.


04-18-2007, 07:58 AM
Mine is as boring as they come... Mom works there so therefor I went to where school was free.

But I will say that the years I spent at GU are some of the best in my life.

Angelo Roncalli
04-18-2007, 08:53 AM
I entered the Spokane diocesan minor seminary (Mater Cleri in Colbert) when I was 14; I was the only one of my graduating class of 4 that went on to the major seminary, Bishop White. Bishop White is a collaborative effort between the Spokane Diocese and Gonzaga--the seminarians pursue degrees in philosophy and fulfill their pre-theology requirements as admitted Gonzaga students. I left Bishop White mid-way through freshman year, but wanted to stay at Gonzaga, so I became a "regular student" and moved into a dorm room in Madonna, the first year it was a coed dorm.

My experience as a fan started when I was about 5 or 6 and my dad took me to see Frank Burgess and the Zags play in the old Spokane Coliseum. I went to nearly every game when I was student; when I was a senior, I was the sports editor of the Bulletin and got to travel with the team to some of the away games, including when GU played UNLV in a tournament in Vegas--the night before we left for Las Vegas, Professor Firkins from the math department gave the team, coaches and everyone else who was interested "gambling lessons."

ABC (coach Buoncristiani) was fired in the spring of my senior year, a decision that was not popular with local sportswriters, especially Harry Missildine. Harry bad mouthed Fitz's hire; it pissed Fitz off so the Bulletin (and I) got the exclusive first interview with the new coach.

04-18-2007, 08:54 AM
My dad took me to see the Bulldogs and Frank Burgess play when I was very little. I just barely remember it.
I have also lived in Spokane a couple of times during my life, and actually took a couple of courses at Gonzaga through a cooperative education program, with Eastern, Wazzu and Gonzaga, that no longer exists, called Sphere.
I watched John Stockton play when he was in high school, but did not live in Spokane during his college days.
I remember going to the occasional baskeball game, in the Kennel, when you could walk up, just before game time, sit almost anywhere you wanted, and pay almost nothing, for the experience. How times have changed.
Angelo, we must be about the same age.

04-18-2007, 11:49 AM
I was born in Spokane but grew up in Southern California. One day our high school basketball coach announced that he was leaving our high school to become the head coach for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. His name was Adrian Buoncristiani. I began to follow Gonzaga basketball at that point. I would have to say I actually became a fan when we moved back to Spokane in the late 70's.

04-18-2007, 12:53 PM
I got in before they were too selective. My freshman year was 98-99, the Elite Eight run... I guess that's how I became a fan.
If I could have, I would have stayed forever. As it happens, they forced me to graduate/leave. That's when the phone calls started... asking me for money I won't have for ten or fifteen years.

04-18-2007, 01:52 PM
Oh, right. I forgot about the part where my mom was working on campus, too. That was a factor, for sure.

04-18-2007, 03:05 PM
This is from my first post on GU Boards:

My mom got free tickets on a regular basis from her aerobics friend Darlene Fitzgerald... the atmosphere in Kennedy Pavillion and C. Martin Centre was no less electric back then if you ask me, but I was only 5 years old so of course it was. I loved the jazz band. I really hated Pepperdine. Personal favs were the McPhees, Jeff Condill, John Rillie, and Jaime Dudley who also coached my h.s. jv team.

My dad ('76) was a member of the "Snake Pit." Pre-Kennel Club, I believe. He was a rabid fan, even in front of his young 'uns he was absolutely inapproprate to the refs and opposing players. He sent me to Gonzaga Prep. Went to numerous camps at GU for basketball and baseball. He was a personal friend of Steve Hertz and asked him to scout me. He argued on my behalf to the financial aid office because GU offered less than the other schools. Since I'm a chip of the ol' block, I thought it would absolutely make sense to light his fire and go to Santa Clara and make an enemy of him... that's why I'm sonuvazag. Well...

I tried out for the basketball team and the baseball team. I made the fall team in baseball but I developed an Ankiel sort of tick throwing the ball. As if deep in my psyche, I could never truly work on behalf of the Broncos. Being at Toso as an SCU student at the 1999 WCC Championship was a little embarrassing. Since those days, I've moved back to Spokane, it just feels more natural to root for the Zags. Everyone at Santa Clara was rooting for Gonzaga in the 1999 NCAA tourney anyway.

It's all about the fans. At SCU the students show up when ESPN is in the house. At GU, well... it's different. I wish I could say there's more to my story than basketball, but I'm afraid there's not. Even my filmmaking aspirations have led me back here. One of my goals is to make an indie film with Gonzaga in it if they let me. I've noticed a lot of people on these boards think there are some made for Hollywood storylines going on here.

04-18-2007, 04:13 PM
I came from an Air Force family that moved every 3 or 4 years. My grandparents always had lived in western Washington, so it was home base for vacations and holidays. I always considered myself "from Washington" although I had never lived there. When I graduated from high school my family moved overseas and wanted me to go to college as close to family as possible in a good, stable environment. The family school has been WSU for three generations, and I was at first headed there. As a senior in high school I won both Army and Air Force ROTC scholarships. Back in the day, that was a full, no-cap ride to any school with those programs. Funny how the possibility of a free Jesuit education made WSU fall a few notches. I visted GU (Army ROTC) and University of Portland (Air Force ROTC). I liked both campuses, but in the end it came down to two things: less rain/better skiing in Spokane, and I didn't want to follow my dad into the Air Force (obstinant teenager that I was).

Thankfully fate was good to me and the decision couldn't have been better.

04-18-2007, 06:17 PM
A longtime basketball player/coach/fan, I arrived as a law student in the early 1980s in time to watch the Stockton-Condill guard combo, soon to be followed by Fitz's return to the bench. What fun to watch; never a dull moment! The Zags have been my team ever since.

04-18-2007, 06:35 PM
Well I was the youngest and I knew my parents would send me where ever I wanted to go- I grew up in the university district of the U of O- my parents friends were the coaches and we had them over for dinner all of the time and both the basketall court and football stadium were five minute walk from out house but I knew I would not go there- just too close and familar-

My parents wanted me to go to Georgetown or Santa Clara- I thought about USF and Seattle U- but a very good friend of the family went to GU and she was in the very first Gonzaga in Florence class and my brother was living in Europe ( and he still is) so I was interested and that was the reason and only reason I went to GU- was in the third GIF class- best decision I ever made- Kennedy opened up my first year and did not miss any BB games( growing up in a college town always went to the college games as parents had season tickets to everything)- I tell my wife that the four years at GU were the best of my life- still have so many good friends from GU and got to attend the WCC in Portland and just so much fun seeing so many people again. Reminded me of how special GU is and the people that do there-

04-19-2007, 07:12 AM
I came to Gonzaga as a freshman the year after the Zags made their run into the elite eight. I grew up in Spokane and had attended numerous Zag games with my family, mostly remembering the days of Dan Fitzgerald. His Hoops camps and tournaments always were a highlight for my teammates and friends. GU wasn't always first on my list of colleges as my Dad was a Cougar fan through and through, so each weekend the cougs had a home football game, I traveled to the Palouse to fairly often watch the cougs somehow 'coug it', but I loved the atmosphere and truly thought I'd be a cougar someday. My mom, who attended UW (yes this creates many a controversy in our household over sporting events...namely the Apple Cup) was all for me being a husky, but somehow I didn't end up a husky either. I played soccer in HS and knew I wanted to play in college...so that's basically where it all began. Numerous visits with coaches and to college campuses (all in the Pac NW) led me to make a decision between Gonzaga and WSU. My recruiting trip to GU somehow happened to be the night that the Zags beat Florida in the Sweet Sixteen...Wow, an experience I'll never forget...college students everywhere screaming, running, climbing trees utter chaos at it's best! In the end I felt that Gonzaga was the best choice for me and ever since I've been a die hard Zag! Ask anyone...I currently live on the East Coast and no one knows how to pronounce Gonzaga correctly...until they meet me. It's been a great ride, I miss Gonzaga and will forever be a fan!

Georgia Zag
04-19-2007, 09:26 AM
I'll give you guys the Reader's Digest version. I became a Zag fan in the late 80's when I started following John Stockton's career. I read up on Stockton and followed his career closely finding out that he attended Gonzaga University. It's because of this that I took interest in the program. At first it was just something fun to do and tell my friends that I was a Zag fan and blah, blah, blah, but after a while I became a true fan and the Elite 8 run was the highlight of my basketball fan life. It seems since then people have embraced Gonzaga basketball and I love how the program has grown. I went for years and rarely ever saw them play on television until the past 5 or 6 years where I see them on a weekly basis. (ESPN2 or FoxSportsPacific) This past year I shared my passion with my brother, who plays high school basketball, and I took him to the Gonzaga basketball camp in July. We had a blast and it was the first time I had visited Spokane. As a middle school coach the camp actually taught me some different drills I can run with my kids and it left my brother with an idea of what he needed to work on to be a successful college player. I loved the campus and I thought Spokane was a unique city with very friendly people. To top it off..... I attended my first Zag basketball game this past December in Atlanta and then my wife and I went to New York for Christmas and we attended the game against Duke. Both losses but we had a blast. I am forever a Zag fan even from this far off state in the southeast where football is king!

P.S. I still love John Stockton!

04-19-2007, 09:24 PM
Went to GU High School team camp during the Fitz years. Fitz came in told us how no matter how good we thought we were we weren't ****. He added a few other things, but I don't want to overuse the asterisk button. I was sold.

Second seller, during the Jared Davis, Jeff Brown, Geoff Goss, Matt Sanford days, the Kennel Club (a fledgling organization at the time) had a group of 5 guys (who clearly were sober at each contest) would spell out Zags during one of the timeouts during the game. Best entertainment I can remember at the games those days.

04-19-2007, 10:04 PM
I met a coach named Bill Grier at the Addidas All American Camp in 2003, just mins before i overheard Darius Washington Sr tell Tony Barbee I cant wait to fully enjoy M$mphis....

04-19-2007, 11:12 PM
Went to GU High School team camp during the Fitz years. Fitz came in told us how no matter how good we thought we were we weren't ****. He added a few other things, but I don't want to overuse the asterisk button. I was sold.

Second seller, during the Jared Davis, Jeff Brown, Geoff Goss, Matt Sanford days, the Kennel Club (a fledgling organization at the time) had a group of 5 guys (who clearly were sober at each contest) would spell out Zags during one of the timeouts during the game. Best entertainment I can remember at the games those days.

Was one of them an exclamation point? Or did they have one they used as relief off the bench who could play any letter?

04-19-2007, 11:15 PM
I grew up like many here in a devout Catholic family in Yakima, WA. I always thought for some reason that I'd go to Seattle U because that's where most of the students at Marquette High School went. Marquette was an all boys high school with an enrollment of about 160 students. St. Joseph Academy, the all girls school was across the street from us. Those were the "good ol days, when the boys would venture over to the Academy to visit our girl friends during lunch. We couldn't go onto their campus so had to hold hands through the fence....it was really a trip, and as I look back really, really funny.

Anyway, I always knew that if I was going to go to Seattle U that I'd have to some how get a scholarship, so I worked hard all my life to try to get one. I had a number of offers to Universities around the PNW and was just unsure of what to do. I was Catholic through and through so I knew it'd have to be a Catholic University. My first visit to a University campus was to Gonzaga, and it blew me away. Coming from a small town like Yakima, and going to a small all boys high school, and almost never getting outside of Yakima because of my socio-economical background, made me a very nieve person with very narrow perception. I could never have even imagined going to school outside of the state of Washington. Spokane seemed a million miles away to me.

We didn't even have a gym at Marquette. We had to rent the gym in the Yakima armory. And believe me...it was a dump. So when I first saw Kennedy Pavilion I was like completely sold. I thought Kennedy was the most beautiful gym I had ever seen, and it had a swimming pool attached, and that really impressed me. I was simply awestruck. I believe the facility was brand new and it looked like it to me. I was really impressed. I look back at those days, and I really laugh because I thought the Gonzaga Campus was huge. And I thought going to school with 2,500 students was about all I could take. I was totally impressed by the fact that Bing Crosby had been a student there (even it was only for a year).

After meeting one of the coaches, Bud Presely, I got so fired up I was ready to run down stairs and suit up on the spot and play...Presely was definately the most passionate guy about basketball and especially defense that I had ever met. I was immediately sold on GU. Rich Juarez was an assistant coach from Wapato Washington (just outside of Yakima) so I thought that was really kool.

I haven't seen much talk about it here on GU Boards, but my Freshman year (1966/67) GU had one of the better Zag teams in the history of the school. The Zags finished 20th nationally and unfortunately back in those days only 16 teams went to the national tournament. The All American player was a guy named Gary Lechman who played center at about 6'6", and was unstoppable. Other players I remember were Frank Thomas and Larry Brown at the forwards, and Paz Rocha was the guard. I think John Daughterty (his son played for Santa Clara this year) and Mike McGinley shared the other guard spot. Believe me. The kennel rocked in those days. The gym was filled to the rafters every home game. The thing I will never forget about those games were the wooden blocks. The whole student body would bring wooden blocks to clap with, and did they EVER make a lot of noise. It was just too darn kool for this small town kid from Yakima. I was always just so in awe about Gonzaga and all those people at the games, and HOW GOOD THE ZAGS Were. I just couldn't believe how Kool it was to be at a college game. And it was everything I had ever dreamt it would be when I was a young boy growing up.

These were different years in our GU history too. Madonna Hall became co-ed. The girls were burning their bra's, and the guys burning their draft cards. Masses moved from the church into the homes of college professors. The nuns were taking their habits off (oh my God), and both nuns and priests were leaving their religious orders in masses in order to marry. Church goers could now hold the host and drink the wine. Guitars began showing up in Church masses. Basketball stars became poets of protest and anger and quit the team in order to protest against an evil and corrupt part of our great country. It was indeed a different time at GU. And for all of us who shared these special GU memories together, we are forever bound by a very very special time in history.

1999 was such a special year for all of GU. We became a national hit, and I was taken away with it all like so many of you. The players seemed to have that same sense of wonder and innocense that I think I once had. I loved watching Santangelo and Frahm on ESPN. They were like two nuts...just so nieve about it all, and I think that's what the country loved. And still does. There is a place in us all for that kind of innocense and romance. I also loved all the live news shots of the campus, and seeing all those nutty GU students hanging upside down in the trees and just going bazerk. Soccer14js gives a great description of it. Those images will stay with me forever.

04-20-2007, 09:47 AM
well, not much of a story but my family has been involved at GU for a long time. My grandparents were good friends with Jack Stockton and his wife ( who's name is slipping from memory this early in the morn) My dad and all his brothers (4 of them) went to GU along with 3 of their wifes. My father was on the head of the council for the move to get COED dorms at GU. My dad's little brother grew up best friends with John Stockton they used to ride their big wheels around my grandma's house and my dad used to babysit them. My uncle did radio for the zags while he was there. Anyway's basically out of about 20 people in my extended family on my dad's side only 2 did not attend GU, myself (UW) and my sister (WSU). We did both grow up as GU fans and have been attending lots of GU events/games etc... for most of our lifes. Anyway's that's the rhyme and reason why i'm a Zag fan.

04-20-2007, 09:56 AM
Ang...such a nice tour. John Firkins was among the best math guys I've ever met. Funny, bright and diverse in his interests. Funny how those teachers looked SO old then when they were a lot younger than we are now.

04-20-2007, 07:08 PM
My freshman year was the first GU run to the Elite 8.

I ended up at Gonzaga because I wanted to go to a smaller school with an engineering program (I was fixing to be an ME at the time). I applied to Cal Poly, U of Portland, Seattle U, and Gonzaga. I got into all four, but I was late for the Cal Poly enrollment deadline, so I'd have had to postpone college by a year, and Gonzaga gave me more money than the other two Catholic schools.

In my first few days at GU I would have swore I was the only kid attending who didn't come from a private high school. TONS of kids were from Central Catholic and Jesuit in my hometown of Portland.

Before the basketball team made its way into history that first year of school I didn't know much if anything about the program.

All I remember is my uncle telling me before I decided to attend that, "GonzAHga is going to be a great basketball school." in his thick New Yorker accent. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but knowing how much of a basketball nut he is (he's the A.D. at Columbia now, but was previously the A.D. at NYU, Georgia State, and Oakland U in Mich.) and how obsessed he is with basketball in particular; I wasn't surprised to find out he was right.

I didn't attend many games in the Kennel; just the big rivalry ones. I caught a couple of away games at UofP. Just rarely had the time to camp out all night.

These days I usually reserve my attendance for the marquee games like Duke, Memphis, Stanford, et al. Every year I'm ready to pull the trigger on a package deal to get myself and some friends to the Final Four in hopes that GU makes it there, but so far...

We actually had a trip down to San Jose all planned out this last year, but then the guys decided to make it personal and throw the game just to spite me and my friends. :)

04-20-2007, 10:49 PM
I had visited the GU campus a number of times while in high school since I was in speech and debate and GU hosted an annual high school tourmanet, and my father and two uncles had attended Gonzaga.

Anyway by my junior year at Bellarmine in Tacoma I really hadn't made up my mind - other than I wanted to go to a Jesuit college. USF and SU were of interest (bright lights, big city) and Gonzaga close to home but not so close that I would be expected to come home all the time or have my partents dropping in unexpectedly. Some time during the year there was one of those college days when colleges would put on Q&A dog and pony shows about their schools. I went to the presentations by the various schools (actually I signed up for enough to make sure I would be out of classes for the entire day) and there just happened to be a couple of students from GU who had just spent a year in Florence. I little remember anything they talked about except for what they had to say about living in Italy. So I came to GU and have been in Spokane ever since ..... except for the year in Florence.

04-21-2007, 01:34 AM
The name Gonzaga was originally familiar to me because of the high school Gonzaga Prep. I attended a Big Nine school (Kamiakin of the Tri Cities) and back in the 70's, the regional high school tournament was always played in Spokane. Don Monson coached Pasco high back then and Pasco typically reached the regional tournament finals (as well as Richland high school). Many of the Tri City students (regardless of school affiliation) usually made the trip because it was such a great time up there in Spokane. The Spokane basketball powers at the time were Shadle Park and Gonzaga Prep.

In a nutshell, I thought Monson was a heck of a coach. He went on to coach University of Idaho, and here is where I am confused. Did his son coach the Zags? I believe there was both a Don and Dan Monson. Anyways. I read that a Monson was coaching GU and began to follow the team. As a fan, I was sorry to see him leave after that captivating elite eight run.
But that elite eight showing was the final hook for me...Frahm, Santangelo, Calvary, Eaton. What an exciting time for Eastern Washington Hoop fans!

04-21-2007, 09:09 AM
Was one of them an exclamation point? Or did they have one they used as relief off the bench who could play any letter?

All 5 used their bodies to spell out one letter at at time.

05-02-2007, 02:49 PM
This thread has been fun to read.
I decided that I wanted to attend Gonzaga because a guy I liked had a brother that went there. I kid you not. The name sounded cool, caught my interest so I checked it out. I grew up in Butte, MT and attended Catholic grade school and high school so it wasn't unusual for students to go to GU.
I honestly believe that God had a big hand in getting me to GU, using my crush on some guy. I'm so grateful that I attended Gonzaga.

05-02-2007, 04:52 PM
Starting at Gonzaga Law School in 1975 I became famliar with the Zags, and as they say, "to know 'em is to love 'em." Ever since.

05-02-2007, 06:29 PM
This last year has been quite the trip for me, which ended with my decision to attend Gonzaga next fall.

Basically, I've lived in Spokane my entire life. In fact, my entire family has lived since the late 1940's, and in that time only one of my cousins as moved (and that was to Tacoma).

Thus, we are pretty ingrained into Spokane. We have connections at every college in the area... except Gonzaga.

However, even though we never had any real connection, college basketball has always been a HUGE part of family life, from my grandfather playing my for USC way back in the day to my dad's year as an student athletic trainer during Jud Heathcote's last year at Wazzu. Some of my earliest memories are of playing beneath the bleechers during Whitworth basketball games in the field house or running through the SCC gym.

So, it was really no surprise when we started getting excited about Gonzaga, obsessively listening to their games over the radio, catching them whenever they're on TV.

Despite this, I didn't feel any attraction to GU, or any school in Washington for that matter, so I looked elsewhere, mainly the east coast. I was tired of Spokane and wanted to get away, so I was looking as far away as possible :) Truthfully, I didn't think that sports were all that important to the college experience, though I would have liked it. But, I ended up choosing Northeastern University in Boston, a school mainly known as the alma mater of the late Reggie Lewis (so, not really known at all).

I got there last September, not expecting a lot of school spirit or sports enthusiasm, but expecting something along the lines of Whitworth. Nope. Besides hockey, none at all. The school has almost 15,000 students, yet in actual numbers, more students go to Whitworth sporting events than NU events. That just astounded me.

It seemed like the students didn't even understand college sports at all. Talk to them about the Pats or the Red Sox and they were fine, the minute they found out how much I liked college basketball and saw the GU and Whitworth newspaper clippings on my wall, they looked at me like I was an alien. (I did win major points with one Celts fan who was IN LOVE with Dan Dickau though.)

The further it got into the year, the more I realized how much college sports work into the chemistry that creates the college community. I'd grown in this house that was so based upon college rivalries where epitaphs like "Dogs drool, Cougars rule," "Huck the Fuskies," and "F-UCLA" ran rampant. My grandfather would have rather died than root for UCLA unless they were the only PAC-10 team left and, well, there was lots of grumbling when people found out it was the NU Huskies. But, most of all, I realized that type of thing was what I wanted out of college. I wanted that stalwart pride of my university where it didn't matter whether they'd Coug'ed it or just plain not shown up, but just the fact that I went there and was part of that community enough for me to defend it.

So, I decided to come back to Spokane at the end of the year to stay, because for all my complaints in high school, I always found myself defending it and spreading the Spokane-love to my friends. Heh, I always thought if I ended up in a school in Spokane it'd be Whitworth, but 2000 students (if that) is just a bit too small for me with just a bit too much family history. :)

I got my acceptance letter a little over a week ago, and in the fall I'll start my soph/junior year at GU, and whether I spend the next two or the next three years there, I'm going to enjoy it. It's close to home, and it's everything I never realized I wanted out of college. :)

05-02-2007, 06:43 PM
I guess we don't post much, but I think there are many of us across the country who didn't know much of anything about GU, other than John Stockton was an alum, until 1999.

A Tar Heel fan for decades - not born one, but I wasn't born into any "Nation" and went to Washington U in St. Louis, zilch for sports,
and still love the Heels - but I always loved Cinderellas....XU, when Pete Giullen was the coach, Bryce Drew, etc. And GU was the greatest Cinderella of all!

I started following them consistently as ESPN showed more and more games, and as the internet gave so much access.

Although I have never been to Spokane, in fact, never to the Northwest, I feel as if I am part of GU "Nation". My best friend is an alum and devoted fan of the University of Illinois - and GU has many fans among the Illini. We text constantly during BB season, cheering for each other's team.

Never been to the Northwest, never been to GU, but I call them "we".

And that's after going to the Indy debacle against Illinois, in Gonzaga-wear:)

Go Zags!

05-03-2007, 04:04 PM
Thanks Skngrl for the wonderful post. I appreciate your desire to share your story. It didn't seem long at all to me (but I'm known for a lengthy story now and then). It touched my heart. I think I listened to a couple of games with you this year when there was no televised game and we listened to the game together with other GU fans. I always enjoyed that, and remember your input was always appreciated. I'm really glad your story has a happy ending. Nice....:)

05-05-2007, 05:47 PM
Well, a Massachusetts native born and bred from the city of Worcester... (pronounced "Wisstah", locally). Attended College of the Holy Cross along with most family members. Season ticket holder at HC for many years in late '70s, early 80s (when HC had a great PG: Ronny Perry). Moved to Seattle area 10 years ago and knew of GU. HC has a big statue of St. Al in the rotunda on campus. Now, I have two daughters attending Gonzaga, with my oldest graduating next Sunday. They enjoy everything about GU... My girls have cousins that attend BC and UConn today. So, we are all very excited about GU playing in Boston this Dec. Should make for a great reunion for all.

05-05-2007, 06:37 PM
I've always had a bit of wanderlust in my soul and couldn't wait to get away from Spokane and see some of the world.

I taught English in American schools in Japan and Germany for seven years, but I never felt that I had a deep enough background in my field, so when I returned from teaching overseas, I went to Gonzaga to earn my masters. My family lives here, so GU was an obvious choice. I loved my time at Gonzaga, but I took a job in California when I finished there. I didn't have much interest in basketball until I retired from teaching and returned to Spokane in '96. I went with other alumni to a game and I was hooked.

I thought it was great when I was in Rothenburg, Germany, a couple of years after the Elite 8 run. We were talking to a gentleman from North Carolina, and when we told him were from Spokane, he told us that he followed the Zags faithfully.

05-06-2007, 09:26 PM
I was on faculty at GU, then filled in for a semester in the Health Center. That one semester turned into three years, and during that time I was fortunate to meet several of the students and athletes. During the season, there were many mornings I would get up at 4 am to stand in line to get staff/faculty tickets to the men's BB games. I only missed one home game. I would sit in what I called "the morgue" (the staff and faculty sections) and try to get people to wake up and get into the basketball game! Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader! I don't work at GU anymore, but I still follow all their games, just on TV. I played basketball in high school (defensive player of the year) and was a cheerleader, I love the game, especially Gonzaga's game!

05-19-2007, 08:17 AM
In the early Spring of 1975, I received notice that I was an alternate selectee for a 4 year Army ROTC scholarship. I was no SAT whiz, wasn't a nose to the grindstone 4.0 type. . .3.6 GPA and a combined SAT in the mid 1300's, lots of extra-curriculars, and so on. It wasn't quite enough, so without the financial assistance of that (or any other full-ride) I planned on going the JC route for an AA and then on to one of the CA state schools for a BA.

During that same time frame, the stormy relationship with Mom was getting worse. I had a smart mouth, she had a quick temper. . .we fought like cats and dogs and poor Dad was caught in the middle. I think he was hoping for that 4 year schollie as much as me just so he could have me out of the house for months at a time, giving him a respite from the verbal wars.

In the middle of April, an 11 x 14 padded mailer showed up in the mail, sent by our friends at the DoD. Inside was a certificate (suitable for framing) informing me that I was a 4 year scholarship recipient ! No cover letter, no nothing.

Fast forward to mid May: I had been accepted at UC Davis and headed for their ROTC program and a student population that was roughly equal to the size of my hometown--15K-- when I happened to answer an after school phone call. It was Major Mott ( yes, I immediately thought of 'Mott The Hoople') from Gonzaga University calling to congratulate me on the schollie, etc. And by the way, did I know I could attend any school with an Army ROTC program, and would I have time to hear about his program in Spokane, Washington. A home visit was scheduled for the next day.

The officer who looked like he had been cut out from a recruiting poster took a cup of coffee from my Mom, sipped it, and continued to tell us about the small Jesuit liberal arts college 800 miles from home. "Our teacher to student ratio is 12:1; you won't be in a lecture hall with two or three hundred undergrads being taught by a graduate assistant. Your professors will know you by name." That really struck a chord.

He fielded all of our questions and told us more about the city of Spokane ( Expo Park was briefly mentioned, as I recall ), the "Gonzaga Experience," and the school calendar.

"Blah, blah, . . .there's no foreign language requirement. . .blah, blah. . .you can write for the student newspaper. . ." More bells & whistles went off. This Gonzaga place was starting to sound pretty good.

After a 90 minute visit, Major Mott hit the road, leaving behind a GU admissions application, school catalog, and a mimeographed flyer about GU's ROTC department.

My parents and I discussed Gonzaga and the Major's visit late into the night. We had never heard of the school, hadn't been to Spokane, and didn't know anyone who had. I checked out a brief description of GU in a telephone directory-sized college guide the next day at the library. Nothing in the small agate type told me much more about the school than I knew to that point, but there was something in my gut that felt right about Gonzaga University.

Some time between that trip to the library and just after the next major blow-up with Mom, I decided to go to Gonzaga, sight unseen.

I guess current marketing lingo would call my choice an "impulse buy." I consider it one of the best decisions I ever made.

05-20-2007, 04:17 PM
I have no idea where I first heard of GU, or how they got on my college radar out of all the other schools.

My high school was a college prep (Marist HS in Eugene, OR) and one of the things we did my senior year was "College Tours" and I was on the Bay Are tour (Visted Santa Clara, St Mary's, USF, and Berkley) with a group - even though I was more interested in going somewhere on the East Coast. I had decent grades (though there were a few clunkers in there), and I test well so there were a lot of schools sending me stuff. LOTS of schools.

How many trees-worth of paper I had in college mailings was ridiculous.

I think we received the mailing and my parents decided to send me to GEL weekend, and in passing mention of my trip, I found out my HS English teacher (and who I worked with on plays a lot as his tech director) was a GU grad - and since he was my favorite teacher, that was the first tally up in the positive points for GU. I went to GEL weekend and right then and there I knew that was the place for me. I ended up picking up a GU t-shirt, pair of shorts, and a baseball cap knowing that's where I had to go.

Later, I got a letter late in the school year from GU inviting me to apply for the Honors program - and I asked my teacher to write a recommendation for me, as I then found out he was also a former Honors student - and was on friendly terms with the then Honors director Fr. Siconolfi (sp?) - so that was a big win for that application.

Even stranger, when I picked my advisor from the English program (Dr. Herzog), I then after that found out that he was also the advisor for my HS teacher. Though I didn't follow any further in my HS teacher's footsteps and become a Jesuit - he's now the Principal of G-Prep. So, a fair amount of my going to GU is due to Kevin Connell SJ.

So that's how I joined the GU class of '98. After 4 years (without a degree) I had serious burnout/depression/focus issues, so I decided to take a year off and work then come back and finish up that last year.

However my leave of absence paperwork got mis-processed (lost) and I found I had to re-apply for that one last year of classes. So my application was accepted last minute (last day before classes) and I was probably the last person admitted to the class of '04 (I even got the regular "welcome to the class of '04 letter") and probably the first to graduate (in Spring '00).

05-20-2007, 06:49 PM
My first experience with GU came when my brother (Mark) went there. He was 9 years older than me and I can remember how beautiful the campus was to me as a 9 year old. The Ad building, St. Al's I was awestruck. Fast forward about 9 years and I found myself on that same campus. I would have to say that the experiences I had for those four years made me a Zag. From the Keg Wars, to being a member of the Kennel Club, to celebrating my 21st Birthday at Jack and Dan's and breakfast on Sunday morning at Arnies. They are all part of me. My senior year ('94) I had the priveldge of being Spike. Maybe it sounds corney or it says somthing strange about me, but I still find that to be one of my proudest times. And I can still remember unmasking in front of a full house on Senior night. I don't know for sure, but I think I might have been the first that they had do this. I am a HS teacher now. And as my students can attest I am a Zag nut. But, I also point out to them that I am the person that I am today because of my Gonzaga Experience. There wasn't one moment when I can point out I became a Zag. It was a process. But, I am one. I know that. I still look back to living in DeSmet and playing all the pranks on each other or ordering Pizza Pipeline at 10 o'clock because of the late night special, and I smile because that is what made me who I am. Sometimes, I get a little tear in the eye as I get nastalgic, but I also gain inspiration as I remember all the things from back then, like talks with Father Tony. What an awesome man. Well I guess I am rambling. In conclusion, I guess I would have to say that simply going to Gonzaga made me a Gonzaga fan.

06-01-2007, 10:25 AM
I thought I had replyed to this thread, but I guess not, so I'll give it a go.

My interest in Gonzaga came my sophomore/junior year of highschool (2002-2003). Living in Carmel, CA all we get as far as basket ball on TV is anything PAC-10 and the occasional Bay Area WCC school. I watched a few games here and there and was really impressed with GU. When the time came for me to apply to schools, I soon found out I was looking at/applying to most of the WCC (UP, USF, SCU, SMC, USD and GU). I thought about applying to LMU and Pepperdine, but I didn't really want to go to school in LA. USF didn't really interest me much either (it really has no campus). Back to the story, I made several visits and fell in love with GU. The campus was great, the students were friendly, and it just really felt like a good place. As it turns out, I almost went to USD, the day I sent in all my info to GU saying I would enroll as a freshman and become a part of the class of 2008 I got my letter from USD saying I was waitlisted. GU won.

Fastforward to August 2004. I arrived on campus with my parents and my sister to move into Welch Hall. I play the flute so we were taking a tour of the music building when we ran into some priests (I can't recall whom). We asked about the Pep Band, and seeing that I was a freshman making a big adjustment, asking if they thought it would be too difficult to fit in my schedule. They said yes. The bad part, me being the good catholic girl I am, listened to them and didn't join my freshman year. I went to a few exhibition games, and most of the games starting with the UW one. Why I didn't go to many my first semester, I don't know. I think the girls I was friends with weren't much into it. I got hooked. As a sophomore I joined the Pep Band and I had the best time ever. Great seats to great games, and free tickets to the NCAA tournament, not to mention hosting the WCC tournament. This year I am studying abroad in France, as a part of my French and European Studies double major. Next year, I hope to return full force to the Pep Band for my Senior Year.

Over the years I have met my fair share of bball players. They really are good guys. I have become a part of one of the biggest family's in the nation; ZagNation, and I have enjoyed many gatherings at David's Pizza with great people. I consider you all my family, and I am not looking forward to graduating in May 2008. If I move home after I graduate it means I will be buying a cable package, and posting on here regularly to get my GU fix. I guess I can say I wasn't really a fan until I went to GU, now I am a fanatic!!

06-05-2007, 03:26 PM
I became a big Zags fan, naturally enough, as a student at Gonzaga. My freshman year was the last year in the old Kennel, so there was a feeling of history, even though we didn't really have any context for it.

I decided to come to Gonzaga mostly just because I liked it. I had grand plans about going far away, but in the end sent applications to almost every school in the WCC instead. My top three were Gonzaga (good distance from home, heard lots of great things from older friends who went there, including this guy I liked at the time), Seattle U (they offered a lot of money, though I didn't care for the campus or the fact that 20+ of my classmates were committing to going there), and USD (pretty campus, great experience on my campus visit, and close-ish to my extended family).
I wanted to knock SU off my list, but my parents made me keep it, just because the money was so appealing.

Eventually it came down to cost and location. People wonder how location led me to choose Spokane over San Diego (my mom wonders this all the time, actually). But I felt at home and comfortable on Gonzaga's campus. USD's just isn't set up as well.
And I knew I would never make the trek down the hill to the Slim Gym to work out if I went to school there! And what's the joy of living in San Diego if you gain the freshman 15 and can't wear shorts anymore?
I also had a great experience GEL weekend, which probably made a big difference. There were lots of free-food opportunities and everyone was super nice.
That weekend I got written up in Madonna for breaking intervis, which I didn't even know existed yet. The other GEL kid who was written up with us ended up being one of my closest friends for the next four years. So it was a good story and an auspicious start to my college career.

And if anyone was curious, that guy I liked at Gonzaga ended up transferring away before I came my freshman year. Ha. :)

12-26-2007, 12:43 PM
GU had a great debate program. Although I never actually joined the program, they were interesting enough to get me to enroll. A long time ago!

D Hark 2003
01-28-2008, 02:22 PM
I owe my whole existence to GU. My parents both attended Gonzaga in the late 60s and graduated in the early 70s. However they almost never met, and obviously if that had not happend, the world would not be graced with my existence. My father grew up in a devout Irish Catholic family in Tacoma. After graduating from Bellarmine Prep he, like many young men back then, decided to go to the Jesuit Seminary to become a priest. He went there for a year before deciding it was not for him. Then he went to GU, played on the freshman hoop team, and met his future wife. My Mom, from Hawaii, and my Dad from Tacoma ended up getting married at St. Al's on campus. I came along shortly afterward in 1980, just after my family had moved back to Tacoma. I grew up in T-Town, but was still a GU fan. With Stockton posters on my walls I dreamed of playing for the zags, but the closest i ever got was a few John Stockton School of Basketball camps on campus. I loved those camps and when i applied to schools I was accepted to GU immediately. So off to GU where i already had a few friends attending and multiple family members as alumni. Some still in the spokane area so i could have a solid support system. It was an easy choice for me.

01-28-2008, 04:27 PM
Zagco has strong regional ties. He is from Wallace, and most of his family lives between Mullan and Medical Lake. He was familiar with Gonzaga from the time he was a little kid, and Spokane was always considered the "big city." When he decided to go to law school, he wanted to remain in the northwest Rocky Mountain area. The strong ties he had with Gonzaga and Spokane made it basically the only choice.

04-29-2008, 05:46 PM
I just kind of tripped onto this thread...I am a little late on the pickup!

I came to GU via California and a couple family friends. My story is not very exciting, but I can tell you if it weren't for Frank Burgess, I might not have attended. A very good family friend went to GU and he loved it so much he kind of convinced me to become a Zag...and boy, I am glad he did. HIS story is quite the story. To paraphrase, he wasn't going to apply to college at all but his high school guidance counselor asked him to apply to at least one college. So that weekend he looked in the local sports page and thought to himself, humm I wonder who the leading scorer in the nation is in hoops. Low and behold it was Frank Burgess from a little school named Gonzaga. Monday morning he told his counselor he was going to apply there.

This story has been told to Frank and they have become buddies since. If it weren't for Frank Burgess, I might not have attended Gonzaga. I graduated in 2005 and have been trying to recruit new students from CA ever since!

Great thread by the way, fun to read all the stories.

I became a basketball fan via being a student and wanting to be in the kennel club for $25 bucks for a tee shirt and all the beer you can drink. :D

08-29-2009, 02:08 PM
It was a democratic vote. While at Fairchild Air Force Base I applied for law school at Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Gonzaga. All four institutions were unanimous: Gonzaga was perfect for me! And they were correct!!

From there, you know the rest: to know the Zags is to love 'em. :)