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Sports letters: Larry Koentopp made big contributions to Gonzaga basketball

Larry Koentopp, left, holds a Spokane Indians baseball jersey. (SR)
Larry Koentopp, left, holds a Spokane Indians baseball jersey. (SR)

I enjoyed reading (John Blanchette’s) story covering Larry Koentopp’s years at Gonzaga University and it reminded me of my years as assistant controller in the treasurers office. You failed to cover another huge contribution Koentopp made to the basketball program at GU, so let me explain.

During Larry’s tenure as athletic director, which ended in 1978, I was working in Gonzaga’s treasurers office as assistant controller. One afternoon, Larry, accompanied by a larger, gum-chewing man, came to my office and said, “Gordon, I’d like you to meet our next basketball coach at Gonzaga University, Dan Fitzgerald. Please hire him.” I shook Dan’s hand, had him sign a W-4 and he was hired.

I have to assume Larry recruited Dan because Gonzaga had no human resource office at that time. Fitzgerald’s contribution to GU basketball is legendary, but I wanted to insure Koentopp’s is recognized for his important contribution to GU basketball as well.

Gordon Spunich,

Spokane Valley

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