Men's Basketball Dominates Sports Awards Banquet
Feb. 10, 2000
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's basketball carted off three of the major awards at the 52nd annual Greater Spokane Sports Association/Sportswriters and Broadcasters Sports Awards Banquet Wednesday night at the Spokane Convention Center.
Senior guard Matt Santangelo was named the Amateur Male Athlete of the Year, former head coach Dan Monson was honored as Coach of the Year and the 1999 men's basketball team which advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last March was tabbed Team of the Year.
Santangelo, who was an honorable mention All-America and a first-team All-West Coast Conference selection a year ago, became the fourth Bulldog to win Amateur Male Athlete of the Year honors. John Stockton (1984) and Jeff Brown (1994) captured the award after being named West Coast Conference Players of the Year in basketball, and pitcher Darin Blood was the recipient in 1995 after being named Player of the Year in the Pacific-10 Conference North. Other finalists with Santangelo were Lewis-Clark State College pitcher Ryan Baerlocher, Washington State University distance runner Bernard Lagat and University of Idaho linebacker Chris Nofoaiga.
Gonzaga's men's basketball team captured the hearts of the nation last year in winning the WCC regular-season and tournament titles, then advancing to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion University of Connecticut. The only other time a Bulldog squad has been the recipient of the Team of the Year accolade was 1995 when Gonzaga's inaugural NCAA Tournament men's basketball team was recognized. Other Team of the Year finalists were Eastern Washington University volleyball, Lewis-Clark State College baseball and Spokane Indians baseball.
Monson guided the Bulldogs to last season's 28-7 record in his second season as the Bulldogs' head coach. He went 52-18 in two seasons with the Bulldogs prior to going to the University of Minnesota last summer. Monson joins his dad, Don, as a Coach of the Year winner. Don won back-to-back honors in 1981-82 while head coach at Idaho. Dan is the second Bulldog men's basketball coach to win Coach of the Year honors, Dan Fitzgerald winning back-to-back awards in 1994-95.
Professional Athlete of the Year went to Detroit Lions placekicker Jason Hanson, and Amateur Female Athlete of the Year was presented to Idaho basketball standout Alli Nieman.
Former Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg, a graduate of Spokane's North Central High, was the featured guest.
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