The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Washington Huskies will renew their fierce college basketball rivalry beginning in the 2016-17 season, the schools announced today in a joint statement.
The two teams will play a four-year home-and-home series. It has not yet been determined which school will host the game first. Each school had non-conference scheduling conflicts that prohibited the teams from initiating the series in either of the next two seasons.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said:
Our home-and-homes have been great. Certainly when we did play Washington the games were very high intensity, great crowds and great passion. We hope to have that same feeling with the next four years of the series.
Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar echoed Few's sentiments:
“The fans have shown that they really appreciate the game with Washington and Gonzaga. I mean, every one of them since we’ve been here has been a sellout, or close to it. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and hype centered around the game.”
The series between the two schools is not without controversy. The relationship between the two athletic programs became strained in the wake of recruiting violations leveled on Washington after each school's pursuit of center Josh Heytvelt, who ended up committing to Gonzaga. The last time the two schools attempted to reschedule the series, when Washington proposed playing a three-game series in Seattle's Key Arena, Few famously quipped to Sports Illustrated, "the chances of that happening are about the same as Bigfoot having my baby."
The two teams last met on Dec. 9, 2006 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga beat Washington 97-77.
- Will Green