Adrian Buoncristiani

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Adrian Buoncristiani
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born c. 1940 (age 76–77)
Alma mater Santa Clara, B.A. 1962
Cal Poly, M.Ed.
Playing career
1959–1962 Santa Clara
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1970–1972 UC Santa Barbara (asst.)
1972–1978 Gonzaga
Head coaching record
Overall 78–82 (.488)

Adrian Buoncristiani (born c. 1940) is a former college basketball coach, the head coach for six seasons at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, from 1972 to 1978.

Early years[edit]

Buoncristiani grew up in San Francisco, California, and attended high school at St. Ignatius in the city. An undersized guard at 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m), he played college basketball at Santa Clara under head coach Bob Feerick in the early 1960s, where he earned a degree in history.[1][2][3]

Buoncristiani started his coaching career at the high school level in California at Mission in San Luis Obispo for two years and then at Righetti in Santa Maria. He became a college assistant in 1970 at U.C. Santa Barbara, where he stayed for two seasons.[1]


Hired in April 1972, Buoncristiani succeeded Hank Anderson, who left GU after 21 years as head coach for a similar position at Montana State in Bozeman, then a conference rival in the Big Sky Conference.[1][2] Less than a week after accepting the job, Buoncristiani was involved in a traffic accident in Spokane in which his car was demolished, but "ABC"[4] escaped with only minor injuries.[3][5]

In his six seasons at Gonzaga, Buoncristiani had an overall record of 78–82 (.488), and a conference record of 39–45 (.464), but never finished better than third in the Big Sky.[6]

Weeks after the conclusion of the 1978 season, Buoncristiani was encouraged to resign in April, days before letter of intent signing day.[7][8] He was succeeded by Dan Fitzgerald, a former GU assistant during ABC's first two years with the Bulldogs and a teammate from high school at St. Ignatius in San Francisco.

Fitzgerald immediately pushed for a change in conferences, first as head coach[9] and soon added title of athletic director.[10] Gonzaga left the Big Sky in June 1979 and joined the West Coast Athletic Conference, swapping places with Nevada.[11][12]

After coaching[edit]

Buoncristiani moved to Kansas City in 1978 to work for Converse athletic shoes; he was the "Salesman of the Year" in his first year.[13] After three years, he relocated with Converse to Reno, Nevada,[14] and later lived in Spokane.[15]

Buoncristiani returned to Nevada and was an assistant coach at Galena High School in Reno. His son Lance was 1999 graduate of Galena and was a point guard at Idaho for his freshman season in 2000.[16][17]

Career coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Gonzaga Bulldogs (Big Sky) (1972–1978)
1972–73 Gonzaga 14–12 6–8 5th
1973–74 Gonzaga 13–13 7–7 4th
1974–75 Gonzaga 13–13 7–7 T-3rd
1975–76 Gonzaga 13–13 5–9 7th
1976–77 Gonzaga 11–16 7–7 3rd
1977–78 Gonzaga 14–15 7–7 5th
Gonzaga: 78–82 39–45
Total: 78-82

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ a b c "Zags appoint Buoncristiani". Spokesman-Review. April 20, 1972. p. 23. 
  2. ^ a b "GU tabs cage coach". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 19, 1972. p. 31. 
  3. ^ a b "Start startling for Zag boss". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 25, 1972. p. 18. 
  4. ^ "ABC walks off court". Spokesman-Review. (photo). February 23, 1976. p. 16. 
  5. ^ Missildine, Harry (April 26, 1972). "Buoncristiani arrives - pow!". Spokesman-Review. p. 18. 
  6. ^ Gonzaga Basketball History - Page 51 of 62
  7. ^ Van Sickel, Charlie (April 7, 1978). "Gonzaga fires cage coach". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 29. 
  8. ^ Van Sickel, Charlie (April 8, 1978). "Win battle, lose war". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 12. 
  9. ^ Missildine, Harry (June 6, 1978). "Gonzaga scans switch to WCAC". Spokesman-Review. p. 19. 
  10. ^ Yamaguchi, Andy (January 6, 1980). "Gonzaga to make WCAC debut tonight". Spokesman-Review. p. C5. 
  11. ^ "Gonzaga drops from Big Sky". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. December 8, 1978. p. 4D. 
  12. ^ "Nevada-Reno added to Big Sky". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. May 1979. p. 5B. 
  13. ^ "Buoncristiani finds challenge". Spokesman-Review. July 10, 1979. p. 24. 
  14. ^ Van Sickel, Charlie (January 8, 1982). "The Dutch Rug: Name-dropping". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 13. 
  15. ^ "Buoncristiani, Moos among finalists for Montana AD job". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. December 19, 1989. p. C3. 
  16. ^ Meehan, Jim (February 9, 1999). "Ex-GU coach's son a big catch for Idaho". Spokesman-Review. p. C6. 
  17. ^ Meehan, Jim (April 8, 2000). "Four players leaving UI basketball teams". Spokesman-Review. p. C6. 

External links[edit]