Monson named new head coach at Long Beach

After months of wondering whether he would be hired as a head coach for next season, Dan Monson has landed on his feet.

Monson, who was fired by Minnesota in November seven games into last season, has been named the next head coach at Long Beach State.

Monson coached Minnesota beginning with the 1999-2000 season, when he took over a program disgraced by an academic scandal that took shape under Clem Haskins. He was 118-106 (44-68 in the Big Ten) in his seven seasons and won only two of seven games before being ousted.

Athletic Director Vic Cegles said he was thrilled to have Monson
leading the team.

"We've hired a good coach and a good guy," Cegles told The Associated Press.

Monson led the Gophers to one NCAA Tournament appearance, that coming in 2005, and four NIT berths. He also was the coach at Gonzaga and was responsible for the Zags getting their first taste of the national spotlight when they reached the Elite Eight in 1999 before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut.

As late as last week in Atlanta, Monson was uncertain about whether he'd get another job and was making plans to move back to the Northwest. He had a good interview with Long Beach State but the 49ers were taking their time in choosing a successor to Larry Reynolds. His contract wasn't extended despite the 49ers winning the Big West championship and receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, where they lost a first-round game to Tennessee.

At Minnesota, Monson had to deal with injuries and a few bad breaks with early entrants to the NBA. Still, his trusted friends in the business were hoping that he would get another chance to coach, specifically on the West Coast. Landing the Long Beach State job is just the type of lift he needed. His energy and passion for coaching was unquestioned.

Monson told ESPN.com last weekend that, because his firing came just weeks into a new season, he felt as if he sat out an entire season.

Long Beach State also interviewed UCLA assistant Kerry Keating, who has accepted the Santa Clara head coaching job, and Washington assistant Cameron Dollar.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.