Blog Entry

Mark Few isn't going anywhere -- ever

Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:55 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:04 pm

By Jeff Goodman

SPOKANE, Wash. - Now I get it. 

Mark Few's name is seemingly always out there circulating in late-March and throughout April. When Arizona was looking for a coach a couple years ago, Few's name was near the top of the list. Same for Indiana and, of course, Oregon. 

Few isn't going anywhere. Ever. 

Trust me on this one. 

I never quite understood it, but after taking my first trip to Spokane for the Zags' win over Saint Mary's last night, I'll no longer question why Few spurns just everyone. 

Life is good for Few in Spokane. 

No, life is great

He's an outdoors man, a family man, one of the few in this industry who seem to walk the walk and truly put the balance of work and family from words into action. 

"He sees things in a different light than most people," said Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti. "And he has the balance to make it work." 

There's multiple fishing spots an hour away in just about every direction. He wakes up, steps outside his log cabin and looks out into a picturesque view of the valley. 

"The worst day of the year for me is the first day of school," Few said to me a few hours prior to Thursday night's win over the Gaels. "And the best day is the last day of school." 

That's because the 48-year-old Few has a chance to spend more time with his four young children (ages 3 to 12). On Wednesday night, just 24 hours or so before the Zags biggest game of the season, he could be found at his oldest son A.J's trumpet recital. He heads to his favorite lunch spot and no one bothers him as he blends in with all the natives. 

He'll never be confused with Tom Izzo for his unrelenting work ethic, but that doesn't bother him. He's at peace with himself and what he does to keep the program as one of the elite and most consistent in the country. He doesn't have to go out and speak to alumni on a nightly basis like some coaches, but he has helped organize an annual Coaches vs. Cancer event that has raised more than $5 million -- second only to Syracuse. 

Few understands what he has and is more than just content with it. The Zags have one of the elite student sections in the nation, Few is able to take private plans just about everywhere he needs to go out recruiting -- and his team charters just about everywhere as well. 

Few's an icon in these parts, having taken this program to an unparalleled level for a non-BCS outfit. There is the 334-87 overall record. There's been an NCAA appearance every single season he's been at the helm and also that 11-year streak of winning a league title that's in jeopardy with the Zags currently trailing Saint Mary's by one game. 

Those will criticize him for his inability to get to a Final Four, but Few isn't consumed by it. Instead, he beckons back to the consistency for this program, one that has become a fixture in the Top 25 over the past decade or so. 

Few could have gone to Indiana and had an opportunity to play in the Big Ten. He could have gone to Arizona and had a chance to regularly compete for Final Fours. He could have gone back home to Oregon, where he went to school. It's a stone's throw from where his parents reside. 

But he opted to remain in Spokane -- and he's never leaving.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:09 am

Mark Few isn't going anywhere -- ever

This is the very sort of post we need many more of Jeff. You have captured a really nice story and written about a really first class man and coach. I do get that Spokane is a paradise (I live in a similar area in Oregon) and what more could he need? Ego has most coaches trying to move up to bigger schools and bigger salaries. Not Few. Lack of balance has most coaches staying up nights watching film and shrugging off their young family. Not Few. Greed has some coaches breaking the rules and talking negative about their competition. Not Few. We could only wish there were more Fews and fewer others in college basketball. I am glad you got to Spokane and saw the light, Jeff. Few do.

Since: Jan 7, 2012
Posted on: February 11, 2012 1:08 pm

Mark Few isn't going anywhere -- ever

There is something to be said for the character and integrety of a man who knows who he is, what he loves, and why he is where he is. mark Few is that kind of man. As a life long sports fan, I have always marvelled at the talent, determination and drama of athletes - and I have had plenty of small time successes in my own sporting life, meaningful to me at least.

With age, I can now truly appreciate those like Mark Few who help youth achieve its dreams and strive for excellence. It isn't the size of the stage that matters all the time - it's the size of the dreams. Way to go coach!

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:29 pm

Welcome to Spokane, Jeff!

I'm glad to hear you made it to Spokane, and I hope you made it out! Because not just coach Few, but so many who are raised or move their never leave, or at best, leave and return. There are so many former Zags who came back after playing overseas, even ones who weren't from Spokane. Matt Santangelo does radio broadcasts, Richard Fox and Dan Dickau do local TV commentary, David Pendergraft has a job on campus, Adam Morrison came back for a while before reviving his career, Blake Stepp lives there too. I'm currently living in Chicago and have always thought seriously about why I don't move back when I visit my family there. It's just such a comfortable place to be.Coach Few will forever be a Spokane legend, and I am grateful he's chosen to stay.

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:54 pm

Mark Few isn't going anywhere -- ever

I was very suprised when he turned down the University of Oregon. It was his alma mater.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:27 pm

Mark Few isn't going anywhere -- ever

Agreed. I don't see Few going anywhere.

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