Long Beach State AD Praises Himself For Inspiring March Madness Run By Firing Coach

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Long Beach State v Arizona
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 21: Head coach Dan Monson of the Long Beach State 49ers talks with Lassina Traore #23 and Amari Stroud #1 during the first half against the Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 21, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
One X user called it "the worst PR advice of all time."

Long Beach State Athletic Director Bobby Smitheran has made the bizarre choice to praise himself for "inspiring" the team's improbable March Madness run by firing long-time head coach Dan Monson. "My belief and hope is that by doing what I did and the timing of it, they would play inspired, and that's what they did. I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but it worked," Smitheran said earlier today. Long Beach State face Arizona in the first round.

Monson was fired last week, but allowed to stay on through the end of the season. In the days that followed, the team made an improbable run to the Big West conference tournament title and into March Madness. Per an ESPN profile released this week, the actual motivation for the run was a player-only meeting held just after Monson announced his firing to the players.

Fired Long Beach State Coach Compares Situation To Seinfeld

Meanwhile, Monson himself compared his situation to an episode of Seinfeld. "I don't have to answer anything I don't want to because I'm working for free today. Did you see the Seinfeld when George was trying to get fired and couldn't lose his job, still going to work every day? That's me. I'm a Seinfeld episode going on right now in real life," Monson quipped.

However, Monson also reflected more seriously on his situation. "I think life is life. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. How you pivot through it defines who you are. I'm hoping that people look at me and say, 'Hey, he had a great job. What are we feeling sorry for him for? He had 17 years driving that car. It was a great ride.' I knew the car was leased. I mean, they wanted the keys back. It's not insured this week but I still get to drive it. I'm going to try to keep it on the road, the road to the Final Four. I'm going to try to keep it on there. It's been a life-changing week in a good way."

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.