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Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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From Sacre to Stanley: GU reading material

Good evening from warm Pittsburgh (temps in the 70s last couple days). I just sent the last of three stories for Thursday's S-R.

Here's the rundown. My game preview can be found here. John Blanchette checked in with Gonzaga's Robert Sacre, who has already made the Final Four in one sense, and a Bob Huggins' column that hasn't been posted yet. We'll link to it when it appears on the Website. Below, you can find my sidebar on pro golfer Kyle Stanley, who is planning on attending Thursday's game.

UPDATE: Here's Chris Anderson's photos and Blanchette's column.

I arrived in Pittsburgh and at Consol Energy Center just in time to see Southern Miss finish practice. The Golden Eagles' staff of Larry Eustachy, Leonard Perry and Steve Barnes all have ties to the University of Idaho. I covered Eustachy's UI teams in the early 1990s and Perry's Vandal teams in the early 2000s. I put together an article after a brief visit with the candid Eustachy. 

Read on for more.

Here's my unedited article on Kyle Stanley ...

By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

PITTSBURGH – If the new Bulldog head cover and the two putters with ‘Go Zags’ on the left side of the faces didn’t give it away, professional golfer Kyle Stanley is one of the Gonzaga men’s basketball team’s biggest fans.

Thanks to a big assist from his fifth-grade teacher.

Stanley, who grew up in western Washington, was sitting in class at St. Charles in Tacoma in March, 1999. His teacher was a Gonzaga graduate and the assignment that day sure beat homework.

“It was when Richie Frahm and all those guys were making their run in the NCAAs and they had a day game,” Stanley said. “She let us watch them during class. We thought that was the coolest thing ever. She’s kind of the reason I started following them.”

He’s been following the Zags since, even though he played his collegiate golf at Clemson. Stanley will be on hand for the Gonzaga-Pittsburgh game today. It’ll be his first time attending a Gonzaga game since the 2008 Battle in Seattle against Connecticut.

He rarely misses a GU game on television.

“I feel like I live and die with them,” he said. “I’m not a guy who has a lot of hobbies. When people ask me what my hobbies are, a lot of times I say Gonzaga basketball, whether it’s in season or not. I use basketball to get myself away from golf.”

This week, he’s getting away from the PGA Tour after playing eight of the last nine weeks. After Stanley lost a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole at the Farmer’s Insurance Open in late January and eventually fell to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff, he was sitting in his hotel room in a pretty foul mood.

“I was devastated from (the tournament) and I see my phone light up and it’s (Gonzaga coach) Mark Few,” said Stanley, explaining Few’s text told him to keep his head up. “It totally turned my night around. I can’t really describe how much it meant for him to do that.”

Stanley won the Waste Management Phoenix Open the next weekend. He ranks second in the FedEx Cup standings and he’s made nearly $2 million in prize money this season.

Everyone on Tour knows about Stanley’s GU allegiances. It might have something to do with him showing up for practice sessions in sweats and Gonzaga shirts.

“My coaches follow them, my trainer follows them,” said Stanley, who hopes to meet Few for the first time today. “I’m biased, but I like our chances (against West Virginia). A lot of my neighbors in South Carolina are big Ohio State fans so we’ve been jabbing each other back and forth. I hope we get to play them (Saturday).”

Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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