Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Niche Job: NCAA Sanctions Rehab Specialist

It is a sad reflection of the state of revenue sports that there are coaches who can make their living specializing in the rehabilitation of sanctioned programs. But Kudos to Long Beach State head men's basketball coach Dan Monson for doing things right:
Setbacks and NCAA violations aren't new to Long Beach State men's basketball head coach Dan Monson.

In fact, he faced similar obstacles when he was initially hired at Gonzaga and the University of Minnesota.

"I think one of the reasons why it was a good fit for me and a good fit for Long Beach State is that I've been through this before," Monson said. "Gonzaga was on probation when I took over, Minnesota was on probation, so this is my third trip through this. Hopefully, through experience you learn what you do and what you don't." . . .

"First thing I think you've got to establish is your culture and your attitude," Monson said. "And I think we've done a pretty good job of guys doing that - understanding what the expectations are going to be for our program and, hopefully, once you get that changed, you get a little more basketball talent to go with that attitude."

This is not something the head coach hasn't dealt with before. In his first season at Minnesota, Monson walked into an academic scandal and a star player quit the team.

"Minnesota was a pretty big mess," Monson said. "It was the biggest academic scandal in the history of the NCAA. We had a lottery pick, Joel Pryzbilla [of the Portland Trailblazers], who ended up quitting the team halfway through the first year. . . .

Turning around struggling programs is something Monson has become known for. In 1999, he guided Gonzaga to an Elite Eight appearance and the Bulldogs have since been relevant to the college basketball world. After posting just three league wins with the Gophers in the 2003-04 season, Minnesota went 10-6 the following year and pulled off the second-biggest turnaround in the Big Ten in 20 years.

"One thing I've learned is it's not going to happen overnight," Monson said. "We've got to be patient with it, and hopefully the fans can be patient, because you can't build something that has been torn down overnight."
Best wishes!

No comments: