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Long Beach’s March Miracle: Dan Monson's Unforgettable Trip to the Dance

Written by Anna Intartaglia

This March, I found myself searching for a new team to support for the next few weeks after my favorite college men's basketball team failed to make it to the NCAA tournament. In my search, I stumbled upon a story that made the decision pretty easy.

Long Beach State University is who I’ll be cheering for, and here is why:

The University announced last week that it had mutually agreed to part ways with Dan Monson, its coach of 17 years, following the completion of this season. According to The Athletic, “recognizing the program might need a new voice…Monson offered to resign from his job after the conference tournament, but the Athletic Director (AD) preferred it happen immediately.”

In an effort to remain committed to his players, Monson negotiated to finish the season through the conference tournament. To the surprise of many (assumingly most shocking to the Long Beach Athletics administrators) the men’s basketball team ended up defeating the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Big West Tournament to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. 

That means Monson will be leading his team on the biggest stage in college basketball, knowing no matter what the outcome is, he will no longer be employed by Long Beach State University. 

Awkward seems like an understatement….

Despite the confusing situation, the commitment that Monson has shown to his team—and the support his players have given him in return—has been a breath of fresh air in collegiate athletics. I commend Monson for his professionalism throughout this situation, and thank him for serving as a reminder of the deep commitment, passion, and love coaches have for their athletes, and the sacrifices they make to ensure their success. 

“I’ve really been able to be thankful for what I have, instead of what I just lost,” Monson said in an interview with the Athletic. “I think sometimes you need a little check to appreciate things.”

With that attitude, Monson showed up for his team at crunch time, and helped give the players the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage of them all. The Beach will be dancing for the first time since 2012, as they are matched up against the No. 2 seed Arizona on Thursday, March 21.

The Long Beach players and Coach Monson have a big chip on their shoulder. If that isn’t something to root for, I don’t know what is.

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