Dan Monson was interviewed on KJR/KGA this morning, and the conversation spurred me to think: could Monson be the next WSU coach?
Assume for a minute that Tony¬†Bennet¬†isn't going to the the Cougs coach five years from now. ¬†Sometime between now and then, there's a realistic chance he'll move on. ¬†I am convinced that we'll be hearing Dan Monson's name in the mix whenever the time comes for Tony to move on. ¬†
So who is Dan Monson? ¬†.
The son of Oregon coach Don Monson, Dan is a Spokane native who basically grew the Gonzaga program from nothing, before handing the keys to Mark Few. ¬†After memorably leading the Zags to the Elite Eight in 1999, he left for the "big time" job at Minnesota, and had moderate success in rebuilding that program: one NCAA tourament and four NIT berths in seven seasons. ¬†¬†
By his own account he went to Minnesota for the "wrong reasons," such as money and to coach in a major conference. ¬†He found the program was a huge mess due to academic scandals, and regretted leaving Gonzaga and his hometown of Spokane. ¬†
After his first three seasons at Minnesota, the Huskies offered him their job (which later went to Lorenzo Romar), and he declined-- citing a sense of commitment to his players. ¬†But in the interview, he cited this has his biggest regrest-- even more than that of leaving Gonzaga. ¬†He said he should've taken it to be closer to family and back in the Pac-10.
In 2006, he resigned and took over the reigns at Long Beach State, where it seems he's spinning his magic again. ¬†After a 6-25 first season there, Monson currently has his team at 12-10, 7-3 in conference, and first in the Big West. ¬†As it stands, they're looking like a fringe tournament team.
Monson picking up for Tony Bennet makes a lot of sense:
- ¬†Monson has a track record of working with limited resources, as demonstrated at Gonzaga and Long Beach State.¬†
- Monson has experience and decent results competing in a major conference (despite the program's obsticles)
- Monson is a Spokane native and has family there
- Monson has Pac-10 ties-- his dad coached Oregon for nine seasons
- Monson regrets not taking the Washington job, backfilling for TB would allow him to right that wrong
- The Cougs could pay him, as sustaining the hoops program will undoubtedly be key priority when TB moves on.
¬†So I'm calling it right now, on February 11, 2009: ¬†
Dan Monson will be the next WSU Cougars Head basketball Coach.¬†