March Madness: can Dan Monson help Long Beach St. succeed one last time?

HEAD COACH of the Long Beach State men’s basketball team, Dan Monson cuts down the nets after winning the Big West Championship. (ESPN)

Sophia Yeskulsky | Sports Editor

March 18, 2024

Amongst the many Cinderella stories that college basketball fanatics hope for, Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team might have one on their hands. Last Monday (3/11), Dan Monson, the head coach of LBSU’s men’s basketball team was fired.

After The Beach lost its fifth straight game on Saturday, 3/9, Long Beach State athletics decided to move on from head coach Dan Monson at the end of the season. In conference play, the team underperformed with a 10-10 record.

During Monson’s 17 seasons at The Beach, he amounted a .500 record with 272 wins and 272 losses at the time of the announcement.

CONFIDENCE: Monson and his team celebrate after winning the Big West. (Press Telegram)

Coming off of 5 straight losses and the announcement of Monson’s firing, the team entered the Big West tournament as the #4 seed. In the first round, they beat the #5 seed, UC Riverside, and then went on to play the #1 seed, UC Irvine. During conference play, The Beach had lost to UCI by 10 or more both times they played. After taking a 9-point lead in the first half, LBSU was able to hold onto the lead and defeat UCI. The final score was 83-79.  “We quit playing together and started playing for each other,” said Monson. His team took that same mentality and defeated UC Davis in the Big West Championship.

THE WEST is highly competitive. (NCAA)

With an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, Monson and his team have a final chance to prove themselves. On Thursday (3/21), #15 seed LBSU is set to face the #2 seed University of Arizona in Salt Lake City, Utah. This will be a very tough game for Monson and his team as the Wildcats have proven themselves to be a very dominant team with an overall record of (25-8). Even though LBSU knows that they are the underdogs, they can find confidence in knowing that the University of Oregon just beat the Wildcats in the Pac-12 tournament. The moral of the story: an upset is possible.

With nothing to lose, the team has another opportunity to play under Monson. If there’s anything that March Madness has taught us is that anything is possible. Last year, little San Diego State made it all the way to the NCAA championship game. For Monson, he has a chance to cement himself as one of the greats and prove all the people who doubted him wrong.

When asked about Long Beach St.’s chance of defeating Arizona, junior Scarlett Dutton who is on the girl’s varsity Basketball team commented, “There’s no way! Arizona is such a dominant team. The game won’t be very close. Arizona averaged 15 more points than Long Beach so there probably won’t be an upset.” On the other hand, Junior Maggy Campbell said, “You love to see a good upset! Especially given Monson and his team’s circumstances, I think it would be a fun way to start off March Madness.”

When Monson was asked about LBSU’s decision to find a new head coach, he explained, “I don’t think this is my last year,”. “I love coaching. … I need a new challenge. That’s life. It’s on to the next chapter.”

Monson is undoubtedly still motivated to succeed in the NCAA tournament, however, he respects the university’s decision and recognizes that it is time to move on.

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