When Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said he wasn’t going anywhere, he wasn’t kidding. He signed a 10-year deal with the Zags on Friday, which will put him at the school for 21 years total, if he completes the new contract.
Graves had a brief flirtation with Washington on Wednesday, that was more of a courtesy since he was in town recruiting. GU athletic director Mike Roth was working on the extension during the Zags’ Elite Eight tournament run, leaving only the announcement after Monday’s loss to Stanford.
Even if you eliminate years, Washington couldn’t equal Gonzaga’s deal, anyway. Not only does Graves have an established program with a solid incoming recruiting class, he’s practically treated like a star in Spokane where his wife is a native.
“I haven’t bought a cup of coffee in two-weeks,” he said Thursday. “And on my flight to Seattle (Wednesday), half the plane started clapping. It was a regular Alaska plane, too, not Horizon. I’m really happy here.”
Here’s the full release:
Gonzaga University athletic director Mike Roth announced Friday that women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves has signed a new 10-year contract with the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
“I am so thrilled to be here, I love Gonzaga,” said Graves. “I love Spokane and am looking forward to being the coach here for a very long time. I am excited about what we have accomplished but I am even more excited about the future. I really appreciated how Gonzaga has made this a position that I wouldn’t want to leave. I want to thank President Thayne McCulloh and athletic director Mike Roth for making this happen. My family and I are very happy.”
Graves has just completed his 11th season at the helm. He led Gonzaga to new heights this season as the Bulldogs made a spectacular run in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. Gonzaga ended the year with a 31-5 overall mark; with the 31 wins being the most wins for either men’s or women’s.
“We are very excited to sign Kelly to a long-term contract,” stated Roth. “He has earned it and we want him to be at Gonzaga for a long time. He has taken the program to new heights and for that he is being rewarded. With Kelly continuing as head coach, we believe there are many more great years ahead for women’s basketball at Gonzaga.”
The Gonzaga Women have made the NCAA Tournament three-straight seasons and four times in the last five years. The Bulldogs’ first victory in the NCAA Tournament came in 2009 with a 74-59 victory over the No. 4 seed Xavier University. GU is now 6-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament play; making it to the second round in 2009, the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 and the Regional Final this season.
The Bulldogs also captured their seventh-straight West Coast Conference title in 2010-11, going undefeated for an unprecedented second consecutive season and for the third time in Graves’ 11 years. Graves was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year for the second year in a row and the sixth time in his career.
He owns a 232-119 overall mark as the head coach at Gonzaga and a 112-42 record in league action.
Under Coach Graves, Gonzaga has now produced four West Coast Conference Players of the Year, three WCC Newcomers of the Year, one WCC Defender of the Year, nine All-Conference honorees and three All-Americans.
* In other news, Zags PG Courtney Vandersloot was named the 2011 Nancy Lieberman Award winner for top point guard in the nation.