Mark Few spoke with the Seth Davis Show about why he never left Gonzaga for a “bigger job.”
We’ve seen this storyline in collegiate athletics time after time – the head coach of a small-market program leads his team to a perceived unimaginable feat and bursts into the spotlight. The flurry of headlines and social media buzz start pouring in, and within weeks a suffering major-market team swoops down in an effort to revitalize itself.
It’s a narrative that, for the most part, follows the same script. Coaches use this window of opportunity to further their careers, take the reins at a Power Five school and secure multi-million dollar contracts. Who wouldn’t jump on such a remarkable opportunity?
It’s a question that Gonzaga basketball head coach Mark Few has been repeatedly asked for nearly two decades.
“Now, not so much anymore. It’s definitely kind of waned as the years have gone by,” Few said in an interview with the Seth Davis Show when asked how many times that question has been thrown his way.
“When you see how Gonzaga does everything, and you see the type of guys that Gonzaga is getting in, and my lifestyle, and you get to know me, then I think they kind of go, ‘Oh, OK. I get it.'”
As Few’s mindset and lifestyle have slowly been unearthed, his reasoning behind declining countless opportunities elsewhere becomes much clearer.
The Zags’ skipper is an avid fly fisherman – so much so that the hobby has practically become therapeutic to him. It has helped him find a balance between his coaching endeavors and his personal life.
And where better to find peace and ample opportunities for fly fishing than the Pacific Northwest? Spokane, and for that matter, the state of Washington, provide an ideal location for the type of environment Few so desires: one of crisp air, elegant pine trees and rivers aplenty. Those same surroundings won’t be found anywhere near Durham, Lawrence, Lexington or any other college basketball hub.
As Davis pointed out in the interview, “It’s a nice life for yourself and your family in Spokane.”
And while Few’s love of the Pacific Northwest played a large factor in his staying put during the early head coaching days, it’s the unsurpassed success he’s brought to Gonzaga that keeps him in the Lilac City.
Few has taken the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of his 17 seasons at the helm of GU. Even more, Gonzaga has won at least one NCAA Tournament game for the past eight years.
And the Zags won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Their 2016 recruiting class is one of the best, if not the best, in school history. They’re currently ranked as the No. 8 team in the nation by the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Poll, and their unique combination of seasoned veterans, impact transfers and standout freshmen give the Bulldogs a legitimate chance to reach their first Final Four in program history.
Few continues to lace together exceptional teams on a consistent basis. The accolades that he could’ve garnered had he moved to a bigger school – well – he’s already got them. And he’s doing it in a small city with a school of roughly 7,000 students in an area that he loves.
“Certainly,” he told Davis, “I mean Gonzaga is who I am.”