By Jarrod Castillo Staff Writer
Albert Einstein is often misquoted as defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”
In other news, the Beach re-signed head coach Dan Monson to be head coach for five more years.
“We have a head coach who matches our culture and has proven the ability to win, proven that he cares about our student-athletes graduating and proven to run a clean and ethical program,” LBSU Athletics Director Andy Fee said in a press release.
LBSU’s men’s basketball team ended the season on a disappointing note, losing to CSU Fullerton in the first round of the Big West Tournament, 76-74. Many speculated that Monson may have coached his final game at the Beach, and were surprised when he was extended.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Monson’s pay was capped at around $800,000 annually, regardless of results. Compared to the other coaches in the Big West Conference, Monson’s salary was at the top.
Monson’s extension, however, brings his annual pay down to $500,000, which saves the athletics department 40 percent. Additionally, the contract will now be incentivized, meaning that wins can raise his earnings beyond his previous salary, according to Andy Fee.
“If we win, he’ll be making the same amount, if not more. But [Monson] has to earn it,” Fee said on a podcast with the562.org. “Something he wanted to prove was not to be given anything but to earn it.”
Alhough Fee may be confident in Monson’s ability to coach LBSU back to the top of the Big West, was the extension warranted?
Since making the NCAA Tournament back in the 2011-2012 season and being the first seed the following year, LBSU has seemingly tapered off and has made it as high as the third seed twice in five years.
This past season, the team went 9-7 in Big West play, good for fifth, and an uninspiring 15-18 overall, marking the second consecutive season that the Beach finished with an overall record under .500.
In addition, Monson’s tactics have also come under fire this season. He’s stuck with a primarily post-centric offense, often allowing opposing defenses to load up on whoever was in the post, rather than allowing the team to improvise.
While his tactics may not change in years to come, Monson did address other topics in a YouTube video released shortly after the announcement of the extension, saying that his vision for future years is that the program gets “the whole person.”
According to Monson, that means signing a player that not only has a high basketball IQ, but is also academically sound and represents the team well off the court. LBSU and Monson currently have a student-athlete Graduation Success Rate of 83.5 percent, which is markedly higher than the national average of 70 percent.
It wasn’t just the fans that were baffled; an LBSU player also liked two tweets that were critical of the extension, showing that there might be some unrest in the locker room. These claims wouldn’t be unfounded, however, as the Beach lost a plethora of talent last offseason when six key contributors transferred out.
Another mass exodus of talent this offseason may be a serious blow for Monson, but the athletics department clearly has faith in the long-time coach. With this new long-term contract, Monson will get to build up a roster comprised of high school prospects, rather than transfer players. This gives him a chance to build from the bottom up and develop the players he specifically scouted, which is how he’s found some success in the past.
“If you look at [Monson’s Gonzaga and Minnesota teams], [Monson] did not rely on a lot of transfers,” Fee said per the562.org. “Those were teams built upon high school kids coming in, not always the highest ranked recruits coming in, but [he] developed them.”
Nonetheless, Monson acknowledges that the team has been underachieving the past few years and he applauds the fans for being frustrated.
“I want people frustrated,” Monson said in the his video. “I don’t want people happy with fifth. Believe me, Dan Monson is not happy with fifth. Andy Fee is not happy with fifth. The expectations of that, I’m thankful, has not changed that people expect us every year to win this conference and go to the NCAA tournament and I expect nothing less of myself and this program also.”
The new contract will give Monson the opportunity to turn a new page in his career, and potentially bring success back to the Beach, even if the extension was unpopular among many fans online.
Nonetheless, should the move backfire, fans will surely call the administration insane for extending a mistake for five more years.