Gonzaga locks up coach Kelly Graves

Updated: April 1, 2011, 6:53 PM ET
Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. -- 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."

Gonzaga men's coach Mark Few, who has taken the Zags to 12 straight NCAA tournaments, has also repeatedly spurned offers from other schools. Few also extols the virtues of living in Spokane, a city of 208,000 residents located on the Washington-Idaho state line.

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.

"He has taken the program to new heights and for that he is being rewarded," Roth said.

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 was not interested.

Gonzaga is a Jesuit university with about 7,000 students. As a private school, Gonzaga does not have to disclose how much it pays coaches.

Gonzaga enjoyed some luck this year because the first four rounds of the NCAA women's tournament were awarded to Spokane. The first two games were on its home court, where full houses watched the 11th-seeded Bulldogs beat Iowa and UCLA.

The next two games were in the much larger Spokane Arena, where Gonzaga beat Louisville before losing 83-60 to Stanford.

Next season, the first two rounds of the tournament will once again be played in Spokane.

Led by All-America point guard Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga's 31 wins were a school record for a women's or men's team.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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