Fresh from taking the Gonzaga women's basketball team to the NCAA round of eight, coach Kelly Graves said Friday he has signed a 10-year contract to remain at the school.
Financial details were not revealed.
Graves said he loves Gonzaga and is happy he will stay in Spokane for at least the next decade.
“My family loves it here,” Graves said. “This is a great place to raise three boys.”
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Athletic director Mike Roth said Graves’ contract had been in the works for some time, and was finally signed after Gonzaga lost to Stanford on Monday night to end the most successful season in program history.
Graves was considered a hot property after leading Gonzaga to a 31-5 record and a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament. In 11 seasons, he has a record of 232-119 at Gonzaga, including seven straight West Coast Conference titles. Washington put out feelers to Graves for its vacant head coaching position, but Graves said he wasn’t interested.
HOOP IN THE RED
The University of Connecticut’s run at a third consecutive women’s championship comes with the trappings of a world-class sports event, including a national television audience and rowdy fans in blue wigs and face paint.
The Huskies dominate on the court, and can sell out arenas. What they lose is money. The program spent $723,900 more than it earned in fiscal 2010.
Across the U.S., the most popular women’s college sport is in the red. Women’s basketball at the 53 public schools in the six largest conferences recorded operating losses last fiscal year of $109.7 million, while the men’s teams reported operating profits of $240 million, according to National Collegiate Athletic Association financial records.
Women’s basketball needs to figure out how to at least pay its own way, said Bernadette McGlade, an Atlantic 10 Conference commissioner and a former coach and player.
“There is intrinsic value in being able to carry your own weight,” McGlade said. “For the amount of resources going into intercollegiate women’s basketball, there’s going to be a time where there has to be a rational decision of, is it worth it?”
This is one year when Connecticut isn’t the only team relying on experience in the women’s Final Four.
Sure, the Huskies are two-time defending champions, but is there a point where the law of averages catches up? Consider:
• Just to get to the championship game, UConn will have to beat Big East rival Notre Dame for a fourth time this season, never an easy task.
• If they do that, they might have to play Stanford, which has four straight years of Final Four experience itself, plus confidence from beating UConn and snapping its 90-game winning streak earlier this year.
None of that fazes UConn coach Geno Auriemma.
“Only a couple kids playing know how to win a national championship, and I’m fortunate to have them on my team.”
One of those players is Maya Moore, a four-time All-American with 3,000 points and the key to the Huskies’ unprecedented run over the past few seasons.