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Gonzaga HQ: Too Weak a Punishment for a Few Too Many?

Updated: Aug 6, 2022

On September 6th Gonzaga Men’s Basketball Coach, Mark Few was given a DUI citation while coming home from his vacation in Idaho. According to the affidavit, “Few was driving erratically, had difficulty finding his paperwork in the center console and glovebox, while speaking he sometimes started a sentence and trailed off without finishing what he was saying, struggled to follow directions, had to lean against his car for support as he stood, and when asked to take a field sobriety test, Few refused and began arguing with police about whether they were subjective or not.” His blood alcohol content samples were .119 and .120 where the legal limit is .08. More than a month after the incident Gonzaga’s first-year athletic director, Christ Standiford has suspended Few for only the two preseason exhibition games, the team's season-opener vs. Dixie State, and Saturday's Kraziness at the Kennel Midnight Madness event. Coming off a loss in the National Championship game against Baylor, Gonzaga will most likely be the number one ranked team to start the season. The first game back for Few will be a highly anticipated top 10 matchup against Texas.

Few was a graduate assistant at Gonzaga from 1989-1990, an assistant 1990-1999, and finally being the head coach 1999 till now. He has won 17 Western Coast Conference Championships, led multiple number one seed teams in the NCAA Tournament, two Final Four appearances, and two National Championship appearances. Few has created a winning culture that very little coaches have ever done in the history of college basketball. Now Gonzaga is known as one of the premiere basketball schools in the country. After all the success Few has brought to Gonzaga is it a coincidence that he will be back just in time for one of the most important games of their season?

In 2004 Bob Huggins, head coach for the University of Cincinnati at the time was arrested for DUI charges which became headline news. He was suspended for 76 days and was given an ultimatum at the end of the following season to either be fired or take a $3 million buyout. Huggins brought Cincinnati back to being National Championship contenders after years of being nonexistent. He was the head coach from 1989-2005 winning eight tournament championships, post season appearance in all 16 years, a Final Four appearance, and has the most wins in the program’s history. Cincinnati has not made a Final Four or Elite Eight since. Even his success at Cincinnati could not help Huggins from being forced out. Also, there have been numerous assistant college coaches that have been arrested for DUIs that were fired immediately. For example, Duke great and 10 year NBA veteran Chris Duhon was fired immediately from Marshall University in 2016, Dalonte Hill at the University of Maryland in 2013, and Tony Bland at the University of Southern California in 2017. Many of their careers were tarnished and found finding a new job to be very difficult.

Coaches are not the only ones that could ultimately lose everything. Players could lose their scholarship, kicked off the team, or even lose their chance to play college basketball all together. In 2017 Grayson Allen made headline news and was talked about nonstop by the media for weeks for tripping an opponent on a couple occasions. The media crucified him, and people called him all sorts of names for not acting mature. If the media recently went this far just for Allen tripping players, what would they do to a player arrested for a DUI?

Few received a slap on the wrist compared to what other coaches have gone through in the past. Is Gonzaga trying to keep the incident on the low for the sake of the school? Surprisingly the DUI and suspension is hardly being talked about by the media. When one of the faces of college basketball does something so careless it has to be handled correctly. Having practically no consequence in order for Gonzaga to play at full strength for a nationally televised game is alarming. Firing Few would hurt Gonzaga drastically by not being able to recruit the high-level talent that they have been getting. When schools are not getting top recruits, it will lead to them not making it far in the NCAA Tournament. Ultimately those schools will not make nearly as much money. Gonzaga was not a huge basketball program with coaches lined up to take the head coaching job before Few arrived. Without Few the school could lose millions of dollars and have their program tarnished. After being so close to winning the National Championship recently the school has clearly shown that winning is their main priority. It is not fair compared to what Huggins had to go through while at Cincinnati or the other coaches that have made the same mistake. The NCAA should step in and make an example of Few to show coaches all around the country that this behavior is not tolerable. No matter their level of success they cannot get out of these types of situations as easily as Few did here.

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