File:Coach Dan Monson at 2012 Big West Tournament.jpg|
Monson at 2012 Big West Tournament
|Team||Long Beach State|
October 6, 1961|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
Long Beach State
|Accomplishments and honors|
Daniel Lloyd "Dan" Monson (born October 6, 1961) is an American college basketball coach, the head coach at Long Beach State since April 2007. Previously he was head coach at Minnesota for over seven seasons, from July 1999 to November 2006. Before coaching the Gophers, he was the head coach at Gonzaga for two seasons, where he had spent the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach.
Monson is the son of college basketball coach Don Monson, and spent most of his early years in eastern Washington, where his father was a successful high school head coach in Cheney and Pasco for 18 seasons. At age 14, the family moved from Pasco to East Lansing, Michigan, where Don was an assistant coach for Jud Heathcote at Michigan State for two seasons.
They moved to Moscow, Idaho, at the start of his junior year, when his father became the head coach of his alma mater, the University of Idaho, in August 1978. He graduated from Moscow High School in 1980 and played college football a few blocks away as a receiver for the Idaho Vandals, then under head coach Jerry Davitch. Monson suffered a knee injury that ended his playing career, and focused on coaching; he graduated from Idaho with a degree in secondary education (mathematics) in 1985.
After graduation, Monson was a high school coach in Oregon City, Oregon for a season, then became a collegiate graduate assistant under Gene Bartow at UAB in 1986, where he earned a master's degree in education.
In 1988, after two seasons in Birmingham, he was hired by head coach Dan Fitzgerald as an assistant coach at Gonzaga back in Spokane. In 1994, Monson was promoted to associate head coach, and became Gonzaga's head coach upon the retirement of Fitzgerald in March 1997, at the age of 55. While at the helm at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs compiled a 52–17 (.754) record and won both regular season titles. The 1999 team brought Gonzaga basketball to national prominence with an impressive run in NCAA tournament. In the West regional, the 10th seeded "Zags" defeated 7th-seed Minnesota and 2nd-seed Stanford in the Seattle sub-regional, and 6th-seed Florida in the Sweet Sixteen round in Phoenix. Gonzaga advanced to the regional final (Elite Eight), taking the region's top seed, and eventual national champion, Connecticut down to the last minute, losing by five points.
Dan Monson became one of the more sought after coaching candidates in college basketball in the spring of 1999. After Gonzaga's improbable run to the Elite Eight, he was offered the head coaching position at the University of Minnesota, which he accepted. Mark Yudof, then president of the university, was hoping that Monson would be able to help the program move past the scandals of previous head coach Clem Haskins. In the previous season, Gonzaga had defeated Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA tournament after several Gopher players were forced to sit out due to an academic fraud investigation. Mark Few, Monson's top assistant, succeeded him at Gonzaga. Interestingly, Monson also had ties to Minnesota already, as his father Don was born in rural Menagha.
In April 2002, Monson was courted by the University of Washington in Seattle to coach the Huskies and return to his home state of Washington. Monson initially accepted the offer presented by Huskies AD Barbara Hedges to succeed Bob Bender. The Minnesota athletic department, under Tom Moe, convinced Monson to change his mind and stay on with Minnesota. In the end, Monson decided to return to Minnesota because he didn't feel he had given enough time to the rebuilding effort at Minnesota and hadn't yet attained enough success with the team. Washington ultimately hired Lorenzo Romar.
Dealing with the fallout from the academic scandals of the Haskins era, it was several years before Monson was able to recruit on equal footing with other Big Ten coaches. He led the Gophers to one NCAA Tournament and 4 NIT appearances in his 7 full seasons as Gophers coach. Nonetheless, he was widely praised for cleaning up the program's image. On November 30, 2006, Dan Monson resigned as head coach of Minnesota after a 2–5 start and only achieving a single 20-win season in seven. Assistant coach Jim Molinari was appointed interim head coach before Tubby Smith was named the new head coach after the season. Monson compiled a 118–106 (.527) record with the Gophers, giving him an overall career record of 170–123 (.580) as a head coach.
Long Beach State
On April 6, 2007, Monson was named the head coach at Long Beach State. Under Monson's guidance, the 49ers have improved each season, to the point that on February 24, 2011 Long Beach defeated Cal Poly 61–55 to clinch their first Big West regular season title since 2006–07 and the #1 seed in the Big West Tournament. They won their last nine regular season games heading into the tournament. The following season, Long Beach State won the conference's regular season (15–1) and tournament titles, and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. They lost their opener (second round) to New Mexico and the 49ers ended the season with an overall record of 25–9 (.735).
Monson has also coached internationally; he was an assistant coach on the 1999 World University Games team and the 2004 USA U-20 team.
Head coaching record
- Khoo, Michael. "Monson's Message: Go to Class." Minnesota Public Radio, July 26, 1999. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/199907/26_khoom_monson/index.shtml
- Withers, Bud (February 8, 2007). "For Monson, no curing the bug to coach again". Seattle Times.
- Hartman, Sid (December 1, 2006). "Monson probably wishes he had taken that Washington job". Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- "Monson hired as Long Beach State coach". USA Today. Associated Press. April 7, 2007.