Senate passes resolution honoring Gonzaga men’s basketball team

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team, which was ranked No. 1 nationally in The Associated Press poll for 17 straight weeks and opened its 2020-21 season by winning its first 31 games before losing to Baylor University in the NCAA championship game on April 5, was honored with a resolution approved by the state Senate today.

The resolution was sponsored by three Spokane-area senators, 6th District Sen. Jeff Holy, 3rd District Sen. Andy Billig and 4th District Sen. Mike Padden. Click here to see the full measure, Senate Resolution 8624.

“At a time when so many of us have had to adjust to life during the COVID pandemic, Gonzaga really gave us something to cheer about by having an incredible season in which the Bulldogs were undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout the season and reached the national title game,” said Holy, R-Cheney, who graduated from Gonzaga Law School. “The Zags gave us an exciting ride, and I commend Coach Few, his coaches and of course their players on a wonderful season. Go Zags!”

“Both the men’s and women’s Gonzaga basketball teams are an ongoing source of pride for the Spokane community,” said Billig, D-Spokane. “But this year their success was especially sweet because of how far they went and the positivity the teams provided after a year of community sacrifice during the pandemic.  Even though they didn’t win the national championship, none of us will ever forget where we were when Jalen Suggs banked in that 40-footer. Thank you Zags (and thank you Jalen) for providing yet another indelible moment when we all needed it most.”

“The Gonzaga men’s basketball program has developed a proud culture of high achievement and personal responsibility – both on and off the court,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley, who received both undergraduate and law degrees from Gonzaga. “The team is a source of pride for our entire region and I congratulate Coach Few, Assistant Coach Lloyd and the rest of the staff and team on another historic, hard-fought season, especially in what was one of the most difficult seasons in NCAA history.”

The resolution honoring the Gonzaga men’s basketball team reads:

WHEREAS, Gonzaga University in Spokane established its men’s basketball program in 1943, with that first team achieving a 22-4 record; and

WHEREAS, Gonzaga’s main claim to fame in men’s basketball for many years was that NBA Hall of Fame guard John Stockton played for the Bulldogs in the early 1980s; and

WHEREAS, The Bulldogs first qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball championship tournament in the 1994-95 season, losing in the opening round; and

WHEREAS, The Bulldogs, under coach Dan Monson, became the darlings of the 1999 NCAA tourney by reaching the West Regional final, where they fell to eventual national champion Connecticut; and

WHEREAS, That 1998-99 team sparked a love affair with Gonzaga men’s basketball for so many fans stretching from Spokane throughout the state of Washington and beyond; and

WHEREAS, In 1999 Bulldogs assistant coach Mark Few was promoted to head coach; and

WHEREAS, Under head coach Mark Few, the “Zags,” as the team is also known, have qualified for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament 21 straight seasons; captured 20 West Coast Conference titles and won the WCC tournament 17 times; and

WHEREAS, The 2016-17 Bulldogs was seeded number one in the West Region and not only reached the Final Four, but played for the national championship, losing to North Carolina, also a number-one seed, by only six points; and

WHEREAS, The 2019-20 Zags had a 31-2 record and ranked second in The Associated Press national poll when the NCAA tournament was abruptly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prematurely ending what could have been a national-championship season for the Zags; and

WHEREAS, The 2020-21 Gonzaga Bulldogs picked up where they left off last season, finishing their regular season undefeated and capturing the West Coast Conference regular-season and conference-tourney titles; and

WHEREAS, The Zags continued their dominance in the 2021 NCAA tournament, routing Norfolk State 98-55 in the first round; topping Oklahoma 87-71 in the second round; defeating Creighton 83-65 in the Sweet 16 round and then beating Southern California 85-66 in the West Regional final to reach their second Final Four in five years; and

WHEREAS, At this year’s Final Four in Indianapolis, the Zags defeated UCLA in the national semifinals 93-90 in overtime on a buzzer-beater by guard Jalen Suggs that will be talked about for years to come before losing 86-70 in the national title game to an outstanding Baylor team to finish the season with a 31-1 record; and

WHEREAS, The Zags were led by their “Big Three” of forward Corey Kispert, center Drew Timme and guard Jalen Suggs, who all were named to various All-America teams this season;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Washington State Senate honor and congratulate the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team, including its players and coaches, on finishing second in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, going undefeated until the national championship game while playing a fun and exciting style of basketball, and for making its many fans throughout Washington and beyond very proud. Go Zags!