Dan Monson

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Dan Monson
Coach Dan Monson at 2012 Big West Tournament.jpg
Monson at the 2012 Big West Tournament
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamLong Beach State
ConferenceBig West
Biographical details
Born (1961-10-06) October 6, 1961 (age 58)
Spokane, Washington
Alma materIdaho (1985)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1986–1988UAB (assistant)
1988–1997Gonzaga (assistant)
2007–presentLong Beach State
Head coaching record
Tournaments4–3 (NCAA Division I)
7–8 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
WCC Tournament (1999)
2 WCC regular season (1998, 1999)
3 Big West regular season (2011–2013)
WCC Coach of the Year (1998)
Big West Coach of the Year (2011–2013)

Daniel Lloyd Monson (born October 6, 1961) is an American college basketball coach serving as the head coach at Long Beach State since April 2007. Previously he was head coach at Minnesota for over seven seasons (1999–2006), reaching postseason play five times. Before coaching the Gophers, he was the head coach at Gonzaga for two seasons, leading the Zags on an improbable run to the Elite Eight during his last season.

Early years[edit]

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.

Coaching career[edit]

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.


Monson began at GU as an assistant coach in 1988 before being elevated to associate head coach under head coach Dan Fitzgerald in 1994;[1] in all, Monson spent eleven years helping build the Gonzaga program. As an assistant, Monson was a key figure in the Bulldogs turnaround during the 1990s. Gonzaga had a record of 223–89 (.715) over ten seasons and he was responsible for recruiting many of the key players in Gonzaga's NCAA Sweet 16 appearances from 1998–2001. From the time Monson was named associate head coach in 1995,[2] Gonzaga averaged 22 wins per season and reached postseason play every year but one. For all of this, Monson was elevated to head coach of the Zags in 1997.

His first year as head coach at Gonzaga (1997–98) resulted in a 24–10 mark, as the Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the NIT. On their way to setting a school-record with its 24 wins, Monson was named the WCC Coach of the Year and National Rookie Coach of the Year by Basketball Times.

The 1999 team brought Gonzaga basketball to national prominence with an impressive run in the NCAA tournament. In the West regional, the tenth-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.[3] 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.[4]

While at the helm at Gonzaga, Monson had a sparkling 52–17 (.754) record in his two seasons and won both regular season titles.


Monson became one of the more sought after coaching candidates in college basketball in the spring of 1999.[5] After Gonzaga's improbable run to the Elite Eight, he signed a new contract in mid-April,[6] then was offered the head coaching position at the University of Minnesota in late July, which he accepted.[7] 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.[8] 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. 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.[9] The Minnesota athletic department, under Tom Moe, convinced Monson to change his mind and stay on with Minnesota.[10] 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.[9] 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, 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[edit]

On April 6, 2007, Monson was named the head coach at Long Beach State.[11] The 49ers improved in each of Monson's first several seasons, 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. The following season, Long Beach State won the conference's regular season (15–1) and tournament titles, and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. In all, Monson has led the 49ers to postseason play four times, won the Big West Conference men's basketball championship three times, and been named Big West Conference Coach of Year award three times.

Under Monson, the 49ers routinely play one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the nation. The team usually plays the likes of teams such as North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, and Texas. According to Coach Monson this is to prepare the team for Big West conference play and ultimately the NCAA tournament.

Monson has also coached internationally; he was an assistant coach on the 1999 World University Games team and the 2004 USA U-20 team.

In 2018, a poll of Big West Assistant Coaches named Long Beach State as the "Best Job in the Big West". [12]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Gonzaga Bulldogs (West Coast Conference) (1997–1999)
1997–98 Gonzaga 24–10 10–4 1st NIT Second Round
1998–99 Gonzaga 28–7 12–2 1st NCAA Elite Eight
Gonzaga: 52–17 (.754) 22–6 (.786)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten Conference) (1999–2006)
1999–00 Minnesota 12–16 4–12 10th
2000–01 Minnesota 18–14 5–11 9th NIT Second Round
2001–02 Minnesota 18–13 9–7 6th NIT Second Round
2002–03 Minnesota 19–14 8–8 T–6th NIT Fourth Place
2003–04 Minnesota 12–18 3–13 T–10th
2004–05 Minnesota 21–11 10–6 T–4th NCAA First Round
2005–06 Minnesota 16–15 5–11 10th NIT Second Round
2006–07 Minnesota 2–5 0–0
Minnesota: 118–106 (.527) 44–68 (.393)
Long Beach State 49ers (Big West Conference) (2007–present)
2007–08 Long Beach State 6–25 3–13 8th
2008–09 Long Beach State 15–15 10–6 2nd
2009–10 Long Beach State 17–16 8–8 3rd
2010–11 Long Beach State 22–12 14–2 1st NIT First Round
2011–12 Long Beach State 25–9 15–1 1st NCAA First Round
2012–13 Long Beach State 19–14 14–4 1st NIT First Round
2013–14 Long Beach State 15–17 10–6 3rd
2014–15 Long Beach State 16–17 10–6 4th
2015–16 Long Beach State 20–15 12–4 3rd NIT First Round
2016–17 Long Beach State 15–19 9–7 4th
2017–18 Long Beach State 15–18 9–7 5th
2018–19 Long Beach State 15–19 8–8 5th
Long Beach State: 200–196 (.505) 122–72 (.629)
Total: 370–319 (.537)

      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. ^ Boling, Dave (March 14, 1995). "Monson's energy gives Zags a jolt". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  2. ^ Boling, Dave (November 8, 1995). "Fitzgerald will pass off to Monson in 1997". Spokesman-Review. p. C1.
  3. ^ Bergum, Steve (March 19, 1999). "Zagnificent!". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  4. ^ Baum, Bob (March 21, 1999). "Huskies end frustration". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. p. 1G.
  5. ^ Bergum, Steve (March 24, 1999). "Monson declines two jobs". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  6. ^ Bergum, Steve (April 17, 1999). "Gonzaga keeps Monson in tow for next decade". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  7. ^ Geranios, Nicholas K. (July 26, 1999). "Few can replace Monson". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). Associated Press. p. 1C.
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ a b Withers, Bud (February 8, 2007). "For Monson, no curing the bug to coach again". Seattle Times.
  10. ^ Hartman, Sid (December 1, 2006). "Monson probably wishes he had taken that Washington job". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012.
  11. ^ "Monson hired as Long Beach State coach". USA Today. Associated Press. April 7, 2007.
  12. ^ Goodman, Jeff (November 16, 2018). "Big West Basketball Coaches Rank the Best Jobs in the Conference". Stadium. Retrieved October 25, 2019.

External links[edit]