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Tradition and Transformation: 125 Years in 125 Items: Athletics

Case 3: Athletics

Sports have always been offered at Gonzaga University.  The Jesuit fathers believed that recreation and sports were an important to the well-being of their students.  In the early years, intramurals (Junior Yard Association) involved most of the boys.  In 1892 football was introduced, followed by baseball, then basketball in 1905.  Besides these main sports, Gonzaga over the years has also offered track, tennis, wrestling, swimming, water polo, and even synchronized swimming.  Today, in addition to varsity sports that compete in the NCAA and various club sports, over half of the student population is involved with intramurals.

Item 25: Tennis, about 1915

Gonzaga students enjoy playing tennis behind the Administration Building

Item 26: Gonzaga Men's Track Team, 1947

Members of the Gonzaga Track Team pose in the infield of the Gonzaga Stadium which housed a track.  Administration Building is in the background behind stadium bleachers.

Item 27: Women's Athletic Association Basketball Team, 1960

Diana Smith, Kathy Wood, Judy Kertson, Captain Ellen Reed, Jackie Claude and Nettie Dreps

Even though women were finally admitted to Gonzaga in the fall of 1948, female athletes did not compete in basketball until the late 1950s. Women students participated in recreational activities, but not intercollegiate, with the exception of the ski club. In the late 1950s, under the name Women’s Athletic Association (WAA), female students played basketball, volleyball, golf, softball, tennis, archery and swimming. Eventually, the women’s basketball and volleyball teams battled against nearby opponents. In the 1960s women competed in the Pine League in basketball, volleyball, tennis, and badminton. This led to Gonzaga joining the Northwest College Women’s Sports Association (NCWSA) and later the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). In the mid-1970s Title IX required all universities to offer equal athletic opportunities for men and women.

Item 28: West Coast Men's Soccer Champions, 1998

Item 29: Men's Elite 8 Autographed Basketball, 1998 - 1999

Members of the Men’s Elite 8 Basketball team signed this ball.  Names include: Coach Don Monson, Richie Frahm, Casey Calvary, Matt Santangelo, Mike Nilson, Mark Spink, and Quentin Hall

For the first time before or since, Gonzaga Men’s Basketball advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Zags had 28 victories and 7 losses.  This was Gonzaga’s second time in the NCAA tournament; the first was a loss to University of Maryland in the 1995 tournament. After the 1998-99 season, second-year head coach Dan Monson left Gonzaga to coach at the University of Minnesota. Mark Few, a member of Gonzaga’s basketball coaching staff for the past 10 seasons, was promoted to head coach.

On loan from Joel Morgan

Item 30: Elite 8 NCAA Men's Basketball Team, 1998 - 1999

Top Row:  L to R: Richie Frahm, Mike Nilson, Mike Leisure, Casey Calvary, Jeremy Eaton, Damany Hendrix, Axel Dench, Zach Gourd, Mark Spink, Eric Chilton, Ryan Floyd, Matt Santangelo, Quentin Hall

Item 31: National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Conference Champion for Women’s Rowing, 1999-2000

Award was sponsored by Sears.  Gonzaga women’s rowing team won the award in 1999-2000

On loan from GU Athletics

Item 32: Framed Sports Illustrated with Adam Morrison on Cover, March 27, 2006


Adam Morrison signature on the cover

On loan from Joel Morgan

Item 33: West Coast Conference Baseball, Team Champion, 2009


Gonzaga Men’s Baseball Team was the West Coast Conference Champion in 2009

On loan from GU Athletics

Item 34: Courtney Vandersloot Guarded by Two Defenders, November 2008

While at Gonzaga (2007 – 2011) Courtney Vandersloot was the only women’s player in West Coast Conference history to be named the conference’s player of the year three times and also the only player to be named MVP of the WCC Women’s Tournament three times.  She is the first Division 1 player, male or female, to have accumulated more than 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career. Under her leadership and shooting, the 2010 – 2011 team made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, the first time that a women’s basketball team made it that far.  She is currently playing for the Chicago Sky in the WNBA.

Item 35: Gonzaga Women’s Basketball Season Tickets, 2011 – 2012

Each ticket has an image of the members of the women’s team, including the coach and Spike

On loan from GU Athletics 

Item 36: Folinio Invitational Golf Tournament, Cal State Fullerton, Women’s Team Champion, 2012

 Gonzaga women’s golf team won this tournament at Industry Hills Golf Club, CA in 2012

 On loan from GU Athletics

Item 37: Kennel Club in the Martin Centre, 2000 - 2001

The Kennel Club started in the 1980s from a request of basketball head coach Dan Fitzgerald to baseball coach Steve Hertz asking for help to fill up the gym for home games in the Martin Centre.  Hertz agreed to encourage his players to attend and to bring their friends.  At first there were just a handful of students, mostly baseball players.  They would get together for a pregame social to get prepared for the opposing teams by deciding which player and maybe coach to pick on.

Item 38: Kennel club Shirt, 2012 - 2013


Current shirt for the Kennel Club using older looking fonts and “G” to recognize Gonzaga’s 125th anniversary

Today, almost a thousand students fill the bleachers of McCarthey Arena to be the “Sixth Man” on the court. Since there are more members than seats, students have to stand in line to get tickets. Their antics have toned down over the years, but the Kennel Club makes the Kennel one of the toughest places to play.

On loan from Kennel Club

Exhibition Info

Exhibition is now closed.


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