UNC or Zags? Easy: Gonzaga's top Dawg is a Duck from Creswell who coached at Sheldon
CRESWELL, Ore. - Imagine what could have been but for a single bucket Saturday night.
"You know I think it would be great for West Coast basketball for a West coast team to get the Championship back to the West Coast," said Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss, who grew up in Happy Valley, Ore. "I had said before the tournament, that if for whatever reason we didn't win I would like to see Oregon win it. But obviously they lost a close one ... so now it's on us."
The Gonzaga-Oregon title match will have to wait for another year.
In the meantime, which team should a Duck fan root for?
The team that edged Oregon out?
Or the Dawgs of a non-Husky variety from Washington?
Maybe this will help you decide:
Mark Few, the top dog on the Gonzaga coaching staff, grew up and play basketball in Creswell, Oregon.
"Even watching Gonzaga today you can still see some of the stuff that he learned here," said David Nickelson, interim athletic director at Creswell High School, "and is still using it."
Few's high school coach, Doug Orton, is in Phoenix to watch the big game in person.
The Gonzaga coach's family still lives here in Lane County.
Nickelson said Few was a natural coach, even as a student athlete.
"Mark is an excellent representative not just of our community, but also for his school that he's coaching for now at Gonzaga and basically the whole Northwest," he said.
"I'm proud of him," said Marcy Rice, the interim principal at Creswell High. "It's awesome when I hear people talk about Mark Few and Gonzaga, then I say, 'hey, I had Mark in school many years ago."
Rice taught Few health and P.E. back when the future coach was in middle school.
She remembers him spending all his time in the gym.
"Very competitive, I must say as well," Rice said. "He walked these halls proud, and his parents were very involved in the community and still are."
Few graduated from the University of Oregon and took an assistant coaching position - at Eugene's Sheldon High School.
"It's not too often where you have, you know, a high school coach move up the ranks and into this level," said Matt Blinkerd, athletic director at Sheldon.
Now his success is inspiring future generations.
"I've grown up watching Gonzaga," high school basketball player Dallas Dewy said, "so it's pretty cool."
"He came from here, and it's definitely inspiring," said Creswell varsity basketball player Cali Allen.
And it's bringing the community together to root on the Zags.
"You know," Creswell AD Nickelson said, "he's not done."