Bulldogs Men's Basketball To Appear On ESPN
Sept. 20, 2001
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's basketball team could have as many as six regular-season appearances on ESPN television during the 2001-02 season, athletic director Mike Roth announced today.
Roth's announcement was made in conjunction with the West Coast Conference announcing a 4-year agreement with ESPN.
"I think this speaks highly of our program that a network such as ESPN is interested in including us in their college basketball programming," Roth said. "We're excited, especially because it gives our fans across the country more opportunities to see us on television."
Included in the ESPN slate is the inaugural national television broadcast from The Kennel on Saturday, Feb. 16, when Pepperdine University visits in a game to be aired on ESPN2. It's also the final home appearance of the season for the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga's game Thanksgiving Day against St. John's University at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout will be shown at 9 p.m. Pacific time on ESPN. Should the Bulldogs advance to the title game of the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 24, Gonzaga would gain another ESPN appearance.
The Bulldogs will also make their inaugural appearance as part of ESPN's Big Monday when the University of New Mexico hosts Gonzaga at The Pit on Jan. 7 at 9 p.m. Pacific time. Gonzaga played at The Pit during the 2000 NCAA Tournament, falling to Purdue University in their Sweet 16 matchup.
Gonzaga opens the regular season Friday, Nov. 16, at the University of Illinois in a game to be broadcast in the Midwest on ESPN Regional. Roth is optimistic that game will be carried in the Spokane market, if not on ESPN than on another station that could obtain rights to carry the broadcast.
The West Coast Conference Tournament championship game slated for March 5 from the Jenny Craig Pavilion at the University of San Diego will again be carried by ESPN, giving Gonzaga another opportunity at national television exposure.
Head coach Mark Few, entering his third season at the helm after 10 years as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs, sees noting but positives about being on television.
"It puts our program in a category with some of the other major programs in the country. ESPN is one of the defining stamps of acceptance," Few said. "This gives our program exposure, which can only help our recruiting efforts nationally. Plus, it gives our fans a chance to see us play. To have a game on ESPN from The Kennel will also be a special day for the university, our program and the city of Spokane."
Roth said the final touches are being put on other television opportunities for the upcoming season, and he hopes to have Gonzaga's entire schedule finalized next week.
In the related announcement from the WCC, Commissioner Michael Gilleran said the conference's agreement with ESPN is the inaugural regular-season agreement between the two entities.
"The conference is very excited about the relationship we've formed with ESPN," Gilleran said. "This gives the conference an opportunity to showcase on a national stage the high-caliber of men's basketball the West Coast Conference has to offer."
The WCC will have four men's basketball games televised on ESPN/ESPN2 during the 2001-02 season, including Gonzaga's games with New Mexico and Pepperdine, and the WCC Tournament chmapionship game.
San Francisco will tip off the regular-season ESPN package on Dec. 4 with a re-match of last year's triple-overtime classic against Fresno State. The Dons upset Jerry Tarkanian's Bulldogs 90-89.
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