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FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2011, 2:28 P.M.

Gonzaga gives Graves 10-year contract

Kelly Graves is 228-119 in 11 years as Gonzaga women’s coach. (Associated Press)
Kelly Graves is 228-119 in 11 years as Gonzaga women’s coach. (Associated Press)

Gonzaga gives Kelly Graves, who has taken the Gonzaga women's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament four times in five years, including the last three, a new 10-year contract

“I am so thrilled to be here, I love Gonzaga,” said Graves in a school release. “I love Spokane and am looking forward to being the coach here for a very long time. I am excited about what we have accomplished but I am even more excited about the future. I really appreciated how Gonzaga has made this a position that I wouldn’t want to leave. I want to thank President Thayne McCulloh and athletic director Mike Roth for making this happen. My family and I are very happy.”

Graves has just completed his 11th season at the helm. He led Gonzaga to new heights this season as the Bulldogs made a spectacular run in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. Gonzaga ended the year with a 31-5 overall mark; with the 31 wins being the most wins for either men’s or women’s.

“We are very excited to sign Kelly to a long-term contract,” athletic director Mike Roth said.  “He has earned it and we want him to be at Gonzaga for a long time. He has taken the program to new heights and for that he is being rewarded. With Kelly continuing as head coach, we believe there are many more great years ahead for women’s basketball at Gonzaga.”

The Gonzaga Women have made the NCAA Tournament three-straight seasons and four times in the last five years. The Bulldogs’ first victory in the NCAA Tournament came in 2009 with a 74-59 victory over the No. 4 seed Xavier University.  GU is now 6-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament play; making it to the second round in 2009, the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 and the Regional Final this season.   

The Bulldogs also captured their seventh-straight West Coast Conference title in 2010-11, going undefeated for an unprecedented second consecutive season and for the third time in Graves’ 11 years. Graves was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year for the second year in a row and the sixth time in his career.

He owns a 232-119 overall mark as the head coach at Gonzaga and a 112-42 record in league action.

Under Coach Graves, Gonzaga has now produced four West Coast Conference Players of the Year, three WCC Newcomers of the Year, one WCC Defender of the Year, nine All-Conference honorees and three All-Americans. 

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