Go Zags! Capitol’s small cadre of Gonzaga fans celebrate No. 1 ranking

The news that the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team earned it’s first No. 1 ranking ever brought smiles to several faces at the Idaho Statehouse Monday morning.

Among them was Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, whose first cousin is Gonzaga star and NBA Hall-of-Famer John Stockton, whose son, David is on the Gonzaga squad.

“That’s awesome,” Nuxoll said. “I’m very proud of my cousin and his children.”

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who pitched for the Zags baseball team, said, “Go Zags. No. 1.” Ysursa said he hopes to land tickets for the first round, either in San Jose or Salt Lake City. He attended a game in Spokane last season.

Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, said the success is a testament to hard work. “They just built and built and built their basketball program. You’ve got to admire (Coach) Mark Few.”

Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, didn’t go to Gonzaga but wears a Bulldog necktie. His connection is through son-in-law Mike Kelsey, who has two degrees from the school.

At the close of Monday’s Health and Welfare Committee hearing, which Wood chairs, Wood joked that the most important announcement he had for the week was the impending No. 1 ranking



Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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