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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Gonzaga coach Mark Few suspended for two exhibition games, season opener

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 9, 2021

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few reacts during the second half of a West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal March 9 in Las Vegas.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few reacts during the second half of a West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal March 9 in Las Vegas. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who was cited for driving under the influence last month near Coeur d’Alene, has been suspended for the team’s two exhibition games and the nonconference season opener against Dixie State on Nov. 9.

Few also didn’t attend GU’s annual Kraziness in the Kennel on Saturday. He’s expected to return for Gonzaga’s probable top-five showdown against Texas on Nov. 13 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

“I have had a month to reflect on the regretful decisions I made on Sept. 6,” Few said in a school release Saturday morning. “I again offer my sincere apology and I remain committed to learning from this mistake. As a consequence of my error in judgment, I will not be present at Kraziness in the Kennel and the first three games of our season.

“I know this impacts our student-athletes and the coaching staff as we begin the season. I understand the severity of my actions and am sorry for the impact this consequence has on our team. Thank you again to those who have supported me, my family, and our program throughout this process.”

Assistant coach Brian Michaelson will assume head coaching duties for the games Few will miss – Oct. 31 vs. Eastern Oregon, Nov. 5 vs. Lewis-Clark State and Nov. 9 vs. Dixie State. Few is expected to continue with his normal day-to-day duties but will not be on the sideline for the three games.

Schools have the option of playing two exhibition games or one exhibition game and a secret scrimmage. Gonzaga usually has opted for the latter, lining up scrimmages against Michigan State and Baylor in recent years. The last time GU scheduled two exhibition games was in the 2006-07 season, playing against Augustana and Warner Pacific.

Few was arrested Sept. 6 shortly after a Kootenai County fire engine captain noticed Few’s SUV was swerving on the road and notified Coeur d’Alene Police.

Few told police he was driving to Spokane from his vacation home at Hayden Lake. After Few was pulled over, an officer reported Few smelled of alcohol and had difficulty following instructions. Breath tests showed Few’s blood alcohol levels of 0.119 and 0.120, according to the report. The legal limit is 0.08 in Idaho.

Few was taken to Kootenai Health after the coach requested an independent blood draw be done. The officer was later instructed by supervisors to release Few from custody and issue a DUI citation at the hospital, according to the report.

“Given Coach Few’s announcement, as athletic director I believe it is possible to both address the seriousness of an incident and the need for accountability, while extending support and compassion to one who both accepts responsibility and commits to resolve their failing,” new GU athletic director Chris Standiford said in a statement. “Coach Few’s statements regarding full accountability are a reflection of his character and consistent with his demonstrated leadership approach over two decades.

“Even as the university continues to work through and address this matter with Coach Few, I continue to have full faith and confidence in his leadership of this program.”

About an hour before the start of Kraziness in the Kennel, Standiford declined to comment on Few’s situation other than his statement released about 40 minutes after Few’s statement on Saturday morning.

Few has guided Gonzaga to a 630-125 record in 22 seasons. His .8344 winning percentage is No. 1 all time among Division I (or equivalent) coaches, according to sports-reference.com.

The Zags have played in or qualified for the NCAA Tournament every season under Few. Gonzaga twice has played for the national title, falling to North Carolina in 2017 and to Baylor last April.

Gonzaga hasn’t had many legal issues since Few was promoted to head coach for the 1999-2000 season. In October 2015, guard Josh Perkins was arrested and charged with physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.

Perkins was suspended for an exhibition game against West Georgia and the season opener vs. Utah Valley before returning to play against San Diego State.

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