Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few has established himself as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I basketball annals in his 13 seasons at the helm, and in the process has made Bulldog basketball a household name across the country.
Entering the 2012-13 season Few:
The Bulldogs made a 14th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, a streak that started when Few was an assistant coach in 1999. When Dan Monson departed for the University of Minnesota following that Elite Eight season, Few was named head coach and has continued the streak the past 13 seasons.
The 2013 season will be his 14th as the head man after 10 years as an assistant at Gonzaga, his 24 years on the Gonzaga bench making him the longest tenured men's basketball coach in Bulldog history. Hank Anderson was the head coach for 21 seasons from 1951-52 to 1971-72.
The Bulldogs won or shared 11 straight West Coast Conference regular-season titles from 2000-11, which was the longest current active streak in the nation and the second-best streak all-time in the NCAA Division I ranks behind UCLA's 13 Pacific-10 Conference titles from 1967-79.
A 14th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 ranks the Zags tied for fourth among current active streaks behind Kansas, Duke and Michigan State.
The 2012 campaign also saw the Bulldogs advance to the WCC Tournament title game for the 15th consecutive year, knotting Kentucky for the all-time lead as the Wildcats advanced to 14 successive SEC Tournament title games from 1939-52.
Gonzaga finished the 2012 season 26-7, the 11th time in Few's 13 years as head coach the Bulldogs had single-digit losses. The Bulldogs received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament where the Zags defeated West Virginia University in the Second Round, the 10th time in Few's head coaching tenure the Bulldogs have won at least one game in the tourney.
The 2012 season also featured another tough schedule, the Bulldogs traveling to the University of Illinois and Xavier University, facing the University of Arizona in the Battle in Seattle and hosting the likes of Michigan State University, the University of Notre Dame and Butler University among their non-conference home games.
While it's never easy, the 2011 road to the NCAA Tournament was a little bumpier than normal for the Bulldogs. A 4-5 record early in the non-conference season had people buzzing about Gonzaga's WCC and post-season fortunes. And a 3-3 start in WCC play had naysayers predicting Gonzaga's dominance was about to end.
But Few and success go hand-in-hand and he rallied the Bulldogs to eight-straight WCC wins down the stretch to claim the regular-season title, then won the WCC Tournament with victories over San Francisco and Saint Mary's to punch their March Madness ticket for a 13th straight season.
Of those five early-season non-conference losses, three were to nationally-ranked teams, but a win over ninth-ranked Baylor help propel the Bulldogs to nine straight wins, including three straight victories to open WCC play. Another tough schedule saw the Bulldogs play San Diego State, Kansas State, Marquette, Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, Xavier and Memphis.
Few and the 11th-seeded Bulldogs downed No. 6 seed St. John's in the NCAA Second Round (the NCAA went to a new format with First Round play-in games) and finished the season 25-10.
The 2010 season saw the Bulldogs make their mark early by winning the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The 27-7 season was capped with a No. 22 Associated press ranking and No. 23 ESPN/USA Today finish in the final polls.
Few guided the Bulldogs to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in 2009, the fourth time in his head coaching tenure the Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. He was an assistant on the 1999 squad that made it to the Elite Eight.
Along the way in 2009 the Bulldogs ran the table in the West Coast Conference with their third 14-0 campaign since 2004.
The Bulldogs finished the 2009 season with a 28-6 overall record. Gonzaga was ranked 10th in the final Associated Press Top 25 in 2009, the fifth Top 10 ranking for Few and the Bulldogs since 2002.
While Few has achieved nationwide acclaim on the court, he and his wife, Marcy, are also active in the Spokane community. Through the effort of the Fews; Chanelle Lloyd, wife of assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, and a strong local committee, Coaches vs. Cancer, an annual BasketBALL and Gala held at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, has raised more than $5 million since its inception in 2002. The weekend features golf, black tie gala and auction with all of the proceeds staying locally with the American Cancer Society.
Mark and Marcy were honored for their philanthropy in June, 2008, as recipients of the Dell and John Wooden Coaching Achievement Award by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame based in Boise, Idaho. The award, begun in 2003, is presented to a coach, along with his or her spouse, who has made exceptional contributions to their community as well as their players and their futures.
"To be honored for what you do away from the court, and to be honored with an award named after a truly outstanding couple like John and Dell Wooden is humbling," Few said. "When you look at the list of people who have won this award in its short existence, and when you look at the members of the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, it's like reading a Who's Who in sports. It is an honor to be associated with these legends."
But what Few has accomplished on the court is equally as humbling, evolving Bulldogs basketball into an annual participant in the NCAA Tournament and into one of the elite programs on the West Coast as well as nationally.
Since 1992 - his first year as a fulltime assistant coach with the Bulldogs - Gonzaga has posted a 511-164 record for a .757 winning percentage. UCLA (.703) is the only other West Coast school to crack the .700 plateau.
But success has been his trademark since taking over the head reigns for the 2000 season.
With Few at the helm, the 2006 season marked the best campaign in the 100-plus year history of Bulldog basketball, the squad rolling to a 29-4 record, including a second 14-0 WCC campaign in three seasons. With national Player of the Year candidate Adam Morrison leading the nation in scoring, Few and the Bulldogs finished fifth in the final Associated Press Top 25 in '06, claimed a No. 3 seed into the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time under Few.
All of that came following the 2005 season in which Few guided the Bulldogs to 10th in the final AP Top 25.
He is one of only two coaches to lead a team into the Sweet Sixteen in their first two years as a head coach since the bracket was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
While Few has continued Gonzaga's string of postseason success, there are some individual player honors he looks to with pride. Morrison, recognized as much for his diabetes as for his ability to score, became the first Bulldog since Frank Burgess in 1961 to lead the nation in scoring at 28.1 ppg. Morrison was a household name across the country and he was up for every major Player of the Year award in the country.
Morrison shared the Oscar Robertson Trophy with Duke University's J.J. Redick, was named the CBS Chevrolet Player of the Year and was a close runner-up to Redick in the Associated Press, Naismith Award and John R. Wooden Award balloting for Player of the Year. He was a unanimous All-America selection on the AP first team.
Morrison was taken as the third pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats making Morrison the highest Gonzaga player ever drafted and validating the job Few and his staff did in developing Morrison's skills. Ronny Turiaf is another Few looks to with pride as Turiaf earned his second straight AP honorable mention accolade in 2005 and joined with then-sophomore Morrison to give the Bulldogs two players with AP All-America recognition in the same season for the second straight season. Blake Stepp was a second-team AP All-American in 2004 in addition to being a John R. Wooden Award Top 10 All-America pick.
Few, who in such a relatively young career as a head coach is mentioned in the same breath with some of the more veteran coaches patrolling the sidelines, has also accomplished plenty of "firsts" since taking over the reins for the 1999-00 season. Dan Dickau became Gonzaga's inaugural selection to the Associated Press All-America first team in 2002, and also was tabbed Gonzaga's first John R. Wooden Award Top Five All-American.
Gonzaga's name has also been called often in the NBA Draft. Dickau was a 2002 first-round choice of the Sacramento Kings, Richie Frahm went in the 2004 Expansion Draft to the Charlotte Bobcats and Stepp was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves that same year. Morrison became the highest-drafted player in Gonzaga history at No. 3 by the Bobcats in'06, Austin Daye was the 15th overall selection of the Detroit Pistons in '09 and Robert Sacre's name was the last one called in the 2012 Draft, going to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Bulldogs also cracked the Top 10 in the national polls for the first time in school history in 2002, finishing the season ranked sixth in the Associated Press Top 25. Gonzaga's 29-4 record also set a single-season mark for victories which was matched in 2006.
A 10-year Gonzaga assistant head coach, Few was named head coach July 26, 1999, following Monson's departure for the University of Minnesota.
Few joined the Bulldogs for the 1989-90 season as a graduate assistant under former head coach Dan Fitzgerald, then was promoted to a fulltime assistant for the 1991-92 season. He had been named associate head coach in April of 1999 following a season in which the Bulldogs became the basketball darlings of the nation on their March run which saw Gonzaga come within a few ticks of the clock of advancing to the Final Four. A loss to eventual national champion University of Connecticut in the West Regional Finals in Phoenix, Ariz., ended the Cinderella story that captured basketball fans from coast to coast.
Former Gonzaga University President Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., and director of athletics Mike Roth didn't hesitate in rewarding Few for his long loyalty to Gonzaga.
"Mark had been an integral part of Gonzaga's success the last decade," Roth said at the time. "I think that speaks well for the program when you can say your last two head coaches were promoted from within. It displays the loyalty they have had as assistants. We didn't give Mark the job, he earned it. He's continued to raise the bar in his 13 seasons as head coach."
Few's contract assures his presence on the Bulldog bench through 2022, his long-term agreement reflecting the university's commitment to Few and his commitment to Gonzaga. This will allow Few to continue to build on success he has enjoyed at Gonzaga.
Few has always been known for getting the most out of players both on and off the court. He is committed to total player development.
Since Few arrived on the Gonzaga staff, the Bulldogs have produced 62 All-West Conference selections, 11 WCC Player of the Year recipients and six Academic All-Americans. In addition, five Bulldogs have earned WCC Newcomer of the Year honors and four players have earned Defender of the Year accolades under Few's tutelage.
"When a young man enters the Bulldog basketball program, I believe it is our responsibility as coaches to help them reach their potential in every facet of their lives," Few said. "Our commitment to the players will always go far beyond the basketball court with a goal of producing the complete individual, one that Gonzaga University will be proud of long after their playing days."
Few and Marcy, married in 1994, became parents with the arrival of Austin James (A.J.) Few (2000); followed by the arrival of Joseph Dillon (2002), Julia Ann Elizabeth (2006) and Colt Walker Norman (2009). The Few's wedding was more special because Rev. Norm Few, father of the groom, officiated.
Wife: - Marcy (Laca) Few
High School:Creswell (Ore.) HS, 1981
College:University of Oregon, 1987
Graduate School:Gonzaga University, 1993