Don Monson made a huge mark on Vandal basketball, first as a student-athlete then as a coach. Monson lettered four times for the Vandal men’s basketball squad from 1952-55, but it was his coaching that left the greatest legacy.
The 1981-82 Kodak Division I National Coach of the Year took Idaho to unprecedented heights. Monson guided the program to its first NCAA tournament in 1980-81, then taking it to the next level by reaching the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1981-82. That team team started the season 16-0, garnering a No. 6 national ranking, finished the regular season 26-2 and took down Lute Olson’s Iowa squad in the first round of the NCAA tournament, advancing to the team’s first and only Sweet Sixteen. Before coaching at Idaho, Monson was an assistant coach at Michigan State, and was credited for the recruitment of Earvin “Magic” Johnson to the Spartans in 1977.