Southern Illinois' loss was Gonzaga's gain in 1983. The midwest school dropped basketball, leaving Jeff Condill without a school to play for. But with programs like Utah, Kansas State, USC and others wanting him, his career was far from over. The Barrington, IL, native took official visits to those schools and more, including Gonzaga.
Jeff says he immediately liked Gonzaga, the coaches, players, school and the Northwest location. So the highly-regarded shooting guard chose to play for then-head coach Jay Hillock's team and become John Stockton's backcourt mate for a year as Jeff was a sophomore and John was a senior.
When Condill was at Gonzaga the teams managed winning seasons, though sometimes by only a few games over .500. He recalls a buzzer-beater loss to WSU one year, followed by a win over those same Cougars in the Far West Tournament where GU would finish near the top. Jeff can still name the players who hit the key shots in every game. Unable to really pinpoint any particular "biggest win," Jeff does admit beating Wazzu was a little extra sweet. They also beat Marquette during his career.
According to Condill, though, the biggest games were against Pepperdine, Santa Clara and San Diego. The WCC (known as the WCAC then) had no postseason tournament, so if you didn't win the conference during the regular season, it was tough luck, no second chances, better luck next year.
Jeff has all good words to say about former Zag coach Jay Hillock who was replaced by Dan Fitzgerald for his senior year. Fitz's imposing stature and vocal nature may have intimidated referees more than the smaller Hillock, but Condill considers them both to have been good coaches in their own right. Hard working.
One year injuries and defections had taken such a toll on the team that Gonzaga could just barely suit up an entire team. Jeff recalls having to bring in a player midway through the season to help the short-handed GU team. Jeff is a no-nonsense, to-the-point type of person, though, and makes no excuses: the Zags were still winning.
Upon graduation, Condill broke his neck in a car accident and took a year off. The following year he was back to 100% and off to Europe to play professional ball. He would have a successful three-year career in Europe, playing in the same league that Ryan Floyd and Mike Nilson currently play in. During the summers he would tend bar at Jack and Dan's Tavern, a famous fixture on Hamilton Street in Spokane.
Jack Stockton and Dan Crowley would eventually take Jeff in as a partner, and now Condill actually owns half of the business and helps run it on a daily basis. After all, Jeff's major at Gonzaga was business administration.
Jeff is a diehard Zag fan and attends most home games. He even flew back to Champaign, IL, to watch the Gonzaga-Illinois season opener this year. Condill enjoys watching these new Zag teams and he sees the same characteristics in these student-athletes now as when he was playing: how they conduct themselves on and off the court, playing as a team, being involved in the community, representing GU as ambassadors and role models, etc.
Jeff would like to think that he and Stockton would match up well with recent GU backcourts, but admits Gonzaga is now bringing in top recruits whereas in his day GU had to "scratch and claw" for the third or fourth best players per position.
While usually too busy working to eavesdrop, Jeff sees Mark Few, Bill Grier and the GU staff as they meet with coaching legend Jud Heathcoate and Don Monson at Jack and Dan's. Condill reports that the coaches are down to earth guys who don't think they're above asking a National Championship coach like Heathcoate for advise on certain opponents. Condill likes what he sees in this coaching staff.
Jeff has been married to Katie, an Arizona grad, for four years now and they have two young sons, 22 months and 2 months old. While he is a family man now and has obligations that sometimes supercede Gonzaga basketball, Jeff Condill will forever be a Zag and he can spotted above the visitors bench at most games.