Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BREAKING: Gonzaga coaches and a former player linked to dead suspected Ponzi schemer

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Gonzaga Men's Basketball Head Coach Mark Few and Assistant Ray Giacoletti have been identified as investors in a fund set up by David Salinas, an investment adviser and suspected Ponzi-schemer who apparently killed himself on Sunday.

Few and Giacoletti are one of "more than a dozen" NCAA coaches identified by cbssportsline.com and si.com as having made significant investments. SI put Few's investments at $353,000 and CBS reported that Giacoletti put in $1.2 million. Giacoletti says he's been investing with Salinas for 22 years.

The coaches are the victims here, except for one tantalizing detail: Salinas was also the founder of a prestigious summer basketball program in Houston, Texas. This is raising concerns among the sports media that Salinas may have been funneling high-level basketball recruits to the clients who were investing millions of dollars with him. 

Gonzaga's former point guard Demetri Goodson is a product of Salinas' program. 

A 2007 Spokesman-Review article announcing Goodson's decision to play at Gonzaga noted that then-Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillespie had made trips to Goodson's high school to recruit him, but that Gonzaga had won out.

SI.com is reporting that Gillespie — who is now the head coach at Texas Tech — invested heavily in Salinas' scheme, to the tune of $2.3 million. 

In fact, of the four schools outside Texas that the Spokesman said recruited Goodson, three of them — Gonzaga, Kentucky and Utah — have ties to Salinas. (Giacoletti was the head coach of Utah in 2007.)

Gonzaga Athletic Director Mike Roth, in a statement, expressed sadness for Salinas' family, then said, "The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the matter as it is not a basketball matter." 

It's not yet a basketball matter, but it may become one.

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About The Author

Luke Baumgarten

Luke Baumgarten is commentary contributor and former culture editor of the Inlander. He is a creative strategist at Seven2 and co-founder of Terrain.