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NCAAB – WEST COAST

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Arena: War Memorial Gym
Coach: Todd Golden

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San Francisco Dons

Team Summary

The San Francisco Dons men’s college basketball team might not currently be known as a national powerhouse, but that hasn’t always been the case. San Francisco has enjoyed tremendous success throughout the years, especially for being a small college program.

This college basketball program has won three national titles, but much of that success was long ago. There was a period when San Francisco was a regular in the NCAA Tournament, but success hasn’t come as easy in the West Coast Conference.

San Francisco’s home gym is the War Memorial Gymnasium, but they also host home games in the Chase Center. This college basketball program has a massive following for being such a small school, and the 2021-22 season is off to a great start.

You aren’t going to see San Francisco as a current betting favorite to win the National Championship or in this March Madness games, but this program has a deep and impressive history.

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Team History

San Francisco first started playing men’s college basketball in 1923, and this program was able to find success almost immediately. The Dons did shut down the college basketball team from 1982-85, and things haven’t come as easy since the restart.

This college basketball program was once ranked as the 29th best program of all-time by Street and Smith Magazine, and the accolades and records speak for itself. The 1950s were a dominant period for the Dons, and that was followed up with another great run in the 70s and 80s.

San Francisco won back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles in 1955 and 1956, and made another return to the Final Four in 1957. There are very few college basketball programs that can make that claim.

The last NCAA Tournament appearance for San Francisco came all the way back in the 1998 season, and the Dons have struggled to be competitive in many of the seasons since that time.

2022 Key Stats

The 2021-22 college basketball season at San Francisco has gotten off to a terrific start as the Dons have gone 15-2 through their first 17 games. San Francisco has been a popular betting option for those that bet on this sport, and the stats show why this team has performed so well to begin the year.

The Dons are scoring 77.9 points per game this season, which is the 64th best average in college basketball. San Francisco is also holding opponents to just 65 points per game, and they have been able to cruise to some easy wins.

Guard Jamaree Bouyea has been the best scorer for San Francisco this season, leading the way with 17.8 points per game. Bouyea has been terrific from the three-point line, shooting over 41 percent for the season.

Yauhen Massalski has chipped in with 14.4 points per game, and Khalil Shabazz has poured in 12.5 points per game as well. This team is able to score in a variety of ways which has made them extremely tough to stop.

Championships Won by the Team

You wouldn’t think that a school like San Francisco would be able to lay claim to many important titles, but that’s not the case at all. San Francisco was once a perennial contender to win a college basketball title, and they were able to cut down the nets two years in a row.

The 1955 and 1956 seasons both ended with an NCAA Championship, and the Dons were just one win short of making it a three-peat. San Francisco was also able to win the NIT Championship back in 1949 over the University of Loyola-Chicago.

San Francisco has only won the West Coast Conference Tournament one time, and that happened back in 1998.

Important Team Events

Even though the San Francisco Dons have not been as successful in recent years, the NCAA Tournament will always be the most important event for this team. If San Francisco isn’t good enough to reach the NCAA Tournament then the West Coast Conference Tournament is the next best option.

The Saint Mary’s Gaels are the biggest rival of San Francisco and this is always one of the most important matchups of the season. Gonzaga is the top team in the West Coast Conference and finding a way to challenge them is the goal of this program.

One of the most important events in the history of San Francisco came in 1985 when the men’s college basketball program was reinstated. This program had been shut down in 1982 after it was discovered that there were a number of illegal activities going on inside of the program.

Top Players

For being such a small school, the list of players to wear a Dons uniform is extremely impressive. There are seven different players with their numbers retired by the school, including one of the best players to ever play in the NBA.

Bill Russell is easily the best player at the University of San Francisco, and he starred there from 1953 to 1956. Russell was the anchor of two NCAA Championship teams, but he had plenty of help as well.

K.C. Jones was a teammate of Russell’s at San Francisco and he also has his jersey number retired by the school. Another teammate, Mike Farmer was also a part of two championship teams and has received the ultimate honor from the school.

Bill Cartwright is another famous player from the University of San Francisco and he starred at the school from 1975-79.

Top Coaches

There have been a number of terrific head coaches in the history of San Francisco men’s basketball, including Bob Gaillard. Gaillard was the head coach in San Francisco from 1970-78 and he is the all-time winningest coach with 165 wins.

It was Pete Newell that really started to turn San Francisco into a national contender as he racked up a 70-37 record while leading this team. Once Newell left the team to take over the job at Michigan State, Phil Woolpert turned the program into one of the best in the country.

Woolpert went 153-78 during his tenure at San Francisco and that included a 60-game winning streak along the way. Woolpert guided the Dons to back-to-back titles in 1955 and 1956 and was named National Coach of the Year in both of those seasons.

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San Francisco Dons FAQs

Has the University of San Francisco ever won a NCAA Championship?

Yes, the San Francisco Dons won the title in both 1955 and 1956.

How many conference tournament titles has San Francisco won?

The lone conference tournament title for San Francisco came in 1998.

What conference do the Dons compete in?

The San Francisco Dons are members of the West Coast Conference

Who is the all-time winningest head coach at San Francisco?

Bob Gaillard; 165 wins

Who is the all-time leading scorer at San Francisco?

Bill Cartwright; 2,116 points

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