Men’s coach turns down Huskies

Jabari Ritchie

Minnesota’s men’s basketball coach Dan Monson broke two weeks of silence Tuesday, announcing he would not leave the Gophers to accept an offer with the University of Washington.

Monson, who said he normally would not comment on job speculation, met with his team on Tuesday afternoon before addressing the media.

“There is too much speculation out there right now and I’m concerned about my team,” he said in a statement. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. We have unfinished work to do and I’m excited about the future of this program.”

Minnesota, which will return several key players next season, finished sixth in the Big Ten with a 9-7 conference record.

The nine wins equal the total from Monson’s first two seasons with the Gophers, but the coach said his team had hoped for more than a second-round NIT exit and an 18-13 overall record.

Monson, who said he is not receiving additional compensation from Minnesota, would not confirm or deny a report claiming that Washington had offered him a job.

“It’s not healthy for me to talk about personnel matters like that,” said Monson, who has a 48-43 record with the Gophers. “I have a commitment here at the University of Minnesota. We had a year this year that we’re not satisfied with.”

Monson replaced Clem Haskins at Minnesota in 1999, following the University’s academic fraud scandal. A season earlier, he led Gonzaga to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament.

He served as an assistant and as the head coach at Gonzaga, located in Monson’s hometown of Spokane, Wash., for 10 years. Monson’s father, Don, also worked in the Northwest, coaching at Idaho and Oregon for 14 years.

Washington, which finished the year with an 11-18 record and a 5-13 mark in the Pac-10, is still looking to replace Bob Bender, who resigned March 20.

The Huskies posted a 116-142 record and reached the NCAA tournament just twice during Bender’s nine years with the program.

Jabari Ritchie covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]