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Originally published March 31, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Page modified April 1, 2011 at 6:38 PM

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Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves interviews at Washington but says he'll stay with Bulldogs

Coach Kelly Graves, who guided Gonzaga to the Elite Eight of the NCAA women's basketball tournament, interviewed at Washington on Wednesday. But he said Thursday he'll stay at the Spokane school.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Gonzaga women's basketball coach Kelly Graves, after a casual trip to inquire about the vacant Washington position on Wednesday, said he'll remain in Spokane.

Graves was in Seattle on business and was asked by UW athletic director Scott Woodward to meet, but the coach said he was already expecting to sign a contract extension with GU. That deal could be announced as soon as Friday.

Woodward had Graves speak with various coaches, including UW men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, and took Graves to UW's football Pro Day. There, Graves was spotted by reporters.

"It's much ado about nothing," said Graves, who, following his team's Elite Eight loss to Stanford on Monday, said he was happy in Spokane. "My wife was born here, I'm not chasing dollars, and my incoming recruits are the best I've ever had. We're not going anywhere. We may not be in the Elite Eight every year, but we're going to be very good for a long time."

The Zags won their seventh consecutive West Coast Conference championship this season under the guidance of Graves. In 11 seasons at GU, he's compiled a 232-119 record with four NCAA tournament appearances.

The Washington position became available after Tia Jackson resigned on March 14. She had one year remaining on her contract. Jackson never had a winning record in four seasons, finishing 45-75 overall.

Woodward declined to comment about the search to replace Jackson.

He is rumored to also have interviewed Molly Goodenbour, UC Irvine's second-year coach, whose team was 15-15 this season. Woodward also could be interested in Florida State coach Sue Semrau and Xavier coach Kevin McGuff.

Semrau is a Seattle native with a 258-174 record in 14 seasons at FSU, guiding the Seminoles to seven consecutive NCAA tournament berths. In 10 seasons, McGuff is the winningest coach in Musketeers history (214-73), losing in the NCAA second round to Louisville this year.

"It'll be a good opportunity for someone," Graves said of the UW position. "I just hope they never beat us."

Washington was 11-17 in Jackson's final season. Players are participating in informal workouts and playing pickup games.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

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