1:30 P.M. CT--Thursday, March 11th, 1999. Where were you? I was in a car--jetting away from Homewood-Flossmoor High School as rapidly as possible. Typically, I crafted some yarn about a sore throat, infected ear or sore infection to avoid being forced to "learn" on the second Thursday of the third month. I was getting too old for that, though. As of my sophomore year in high school, he was expecting me home to watch the NCAA Tournament--excuse-free. In fact, in this instance, he picked me up from 999 Kedzie Avenue.
As we drove, we heard on the radio that 7-seed Minnesota was in grave danger of losing in Seattle to some team called "Gon-ZAGH-uh". Evidently, the school's founders couldn't decide on a name. So, they agreed to call the institution "whatever the Green Giant says first today".
The Gophers were trouble that year. Minnesota didn't have four starters in that game (Welcome to Clem Haskins Suspension Theater, here's a bag of cash to show our appreciation) and did have a leading-scorer named Dusty Rychert.
Even so, the maroon and gold was playing Onomatopoeia U--home of John Stockton. And a fine liberal arts education.
The pride of Battle Ground, Washington. He hit for 26 points, 16 in the first half. And he buried Minnesota in Seattle.
The guy who did that thing is Richie Frahm.
Not only lead he compel the 'zags (as we now know is peachy--some of us were frowned upon for using this moniker before its time) to their first NCAA victory, but their second (aloha, Stanford--15 Frahm-points) and third (17 points in Frahm's Lullaby to Florida).
Gonzaga went to the sweet 16 in 2000 in Frahm's senior year and also in 2001. The Bulldogs have not missed the tournament since that trip to the Emerald City in '99.
Head coach Dan Monson was not around the Pacific Northwest to see all of the joy his team proliferated. He left after Gonzaga's remarkable 1999 for....Minnesota. Congratulations, Coach Monson. You're on the list.
Richie Frahm has since married a woman named Joanie, thus fulfilling America's #1 Happy Days fantasy, according to a poll of prison inmates.
He was last seen in the NBA with the Houston Rockets.