Few in February 2008
December 27, 1962 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
11 WCC Coach of the Year
(2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015)
Mark Few (born December 27, 1962) is an American college basketball coach, currently the head coach at Gonzaga University. He has served on Gonzaga's coaching staff since 1989, and has been a constant on the sidelines throughout a period that has seen the Bulldogs rise from mid-major obscurity to regular participants in the NCAA tournament.
Early life and education
Few was born in Creswell, Oregon, the son of a Presbyterian pastor, and was a star point guard at Creswell High School, graduating in 1981. He originally attended Linfield College, hoping to play basketball and baseball, but he was troubled by the aftereffects of a dislocated shoulder he suffered while playing football as a senior at Creswell. He then transferred to the University of Oregon, hoping to play baseball there, but the Ducks had dropped their varsity baseball program by the time he arrived in Eugene. He graduated from Oregon with a B.S. in physical education in 1987.
Few entered the coaching profession even before receiving his degree, serving as an unpaid part-time assistant at his alma mater of Creswell High School starting in 1983, and advancing to a paid position from 1986 to 1988. During this time, he also worked at Oregon's summer basketball camps. After a season as an assistant at another Oregon school, Sheldon High School in Eugene, he moved to Spokane, Washington, joining the Gonzaga staff as a graduate assistant in 1989 under Dan Fitzgerald. He had some familiarity with the program, as he had befriended Dan Monson, then a Gonzaga assistant and later the head coach, during his time working the Oregon basketball camps. In 1990, he was promoted to a full-time assistant.
In April 1999, Few was promoted to associate head coach, making him the designated successor to Monson, who had just finished his second year as Gonzaga head coach. This was immediately following the season in which Gonzaga became the nation's basketball darlings, making a run through the NCAA tournament, defeating Minnesota, Stanford, and Florida, to advance to the Elite Eight. In the West Regional finals Gonzaga lost to eventual national champions UConn by five points. When Monson left in July to take the open head coaching job at Minnesota, Mark Few was elevated to the Bulldogs' top job.
Taking over after Monson's abrupt departure, Coach Mark Few was able to maintain the Gonzaga program's success from his very first season and prevent the Bulldogs from being a one-year wonder and sinking back into obscurity. He led them into the NCAA Sweet Sixteen each of the first two years. He was only the second head coach in the nation to achieve this feat since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The following year (2001–02), Few set an all-time record for NCAA Division I men's coaches by collecting 81 wins in his first three years as a head coach. The record stood until 2010 when Brad Stevens of Butler surpassed it. The program's success has continued as Gonzaga has made the NCAA tournament in every one of Few's 15 seasons.
Few was named the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year for six consecutive seasons (2001 through 2006).
The 2006–07 season may well have been one of his better coaching jobs, as the team faced what could be called a "perfect storm":
- Adam Morrison, a first-team All-America in 2005-06, chose to leave Gonzaga for the NBA with a year of eligibility left.
- The Zags played an especially brutal nonconference schedule, with no fewer than nine opponents that would make the NCAA tournament.
- The team's second-leading scorer and leading rebounder in 2006–07, Josh Heytvelt, was suspended after being arrested on drug charges in February 2007, and did not play again during the season.
The Zags ended the regular season at 21–10, their first season with double digits in losses since 1997–98, which was also the last season to date in which they failed to make the NCAA tournament. It had generally been thought that Gonzaga would have to win the WCC tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. However, Gonzaga would go on to win the conference tournament, notably beating a Santa Clara team in the final that had earlier handed the Zags their first home-court loss in nearly four years. They would go out in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Indiana.
A year later, despite losing to San Diego in the conference title game, the Bulldogs garnered their first-ever at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
With Few as head coach, the Gonzaga program produced its first two first-team All-Americans in Dan Dickau and Morrison, plus future NBA players in Blake Stepp, Austin Daye, Ronny Turiaf, Robert Sacre, Jeremy Pargo, Elias Harris, and Kelly Olynyk. In 2005, Few signed a contract extension intended to keep him at Gonzaga through 2015.
On March 21, 2009, Few notched his 254th win as Gonzaga's head coach with a second-round victory in the NCAA Tournament, passing his former boss Fitzgerald as the winningest coach in school history.
During the 2012-13 season, Few led the Bulldogs to the #2 ranking in both major polls, the highest national ranking in school history. However, that record fell a week later when the Bulldogs surged to #1 in both polls for the first time ever. It was also the first time a WCC school had ascended to the top spot since San Francisco in 1977. Despite the rankings, Gonzaga once again underachieved and failed to win more than one NCAA Tournament game for the tenth time in twelve seasons.
He and his wife Marcy, married by his father in 1994, have three sons and one daughter. They have organized a charity golf tournament under the Coaches vs. Cancer umbrella. Since the tournament began in 2002, it has raised over $1 million for the American Cancer Society. Coach Few loves to fly fish and has chosen to stay at Gonzaga in part to provide stability for himself and his family, turning away coaching offers from larger schools over the years. Few and Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball coach Bill Self shares the same birthday.
Head coaching record
|Gonzaga Bulldogs (West Coast Conference) (1999–present)|
|1999–00||Gonzaga||26–9||11–3||2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2000–01||Gonzaga||26–7||13–1||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2001–02||Gonzaga||29–4||13–1||T–1st||NCAA Round of 64|
|2002–03||Gonzaga||24–9||11–3||1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|2003–04||Gonzaga||28–3||14–0||1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|2004–05||Gonzaga||26–5||12–2||1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|2005–06||Gonzaga||29–4||14–0||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2006–07||Gonzaga||23–11||11–3||1st||NCAA Round of 64|
|2007–08||Gonzaga||25–8||13–1||1st||NCAA Round of 64|
|2008–09||Gonzaga||28–6||14–0||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2009–10||Gonzaga||27–7||12–2||1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|2010–11||Gonzaga||25–10||11–3||T–1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|2011–12||Gonzaga||26–7||13–3||2nd||NCAA Round of 32|
|2012–13||Gonzaga||32–3||16–0||1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|2013–14||Gonzaga||29–7||15–3||1st||NCAA Round of 32|
|Gonzaga:||432–102 (.809)||211–25 (.894)|
- "Coach Bio: Mark Few - Men's Basketball". GoZags.com. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- Withers, Bud (2002). BraveHearts: The Against-All-Odds Rise of Gonzaga Basketball. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. xviii. ISBN 1-5724-3499-6.
- Withers, BraveHearts, p. 52.
- Withers, BraveHearts, pp. 52-53.
- Withers, BraveHearts, p. 53.
- Withers, BraveHearts, p. 42.
- Gonzaga lists his first season as 1990, but both its official basketball website and basketball media guide consistently refer to seasons by the calendar year in which they end.
- "Gonzaga puts difficult season behind". Associated Press. March 20, 2007.
- "Drug bust shakes Gonzaga and Spokane". Associated Press. February 15, 2007.
- Glockner, Andy (March 2, 2007). "Drive to 65: Bubble fans unite to root on Winthrop's Eagles". ESPN.com.
- "Happy 51st birthdays to Bill Self and Mark Few, who have 899 career head coaching wins between them!". twitter.com. 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2014-12-21.