Hoopfest selects Santangelo as next director

Hoopfest selects Santangelo as next director

Sources close to KXLY confirm former Gonzaga Bulldogs standout Matt Santangelo, who helped lead the Zags on their 'Cinderella story' Elite Eight run in 1999, has been tapped to take over as executive director for Hoopfest.

Hoopfest officials would not confirm Santangelo's hiring, but did confirm a formal announcement will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"The new Executive Director has a passion for basketball. He is looking forward to leading Spokane Hoopfest Association programs and will work closely with Rick Steltenpohl and the seasoned staff through Hoopfest 25 to ensure a successful transition," said Spokane Hoopfest Co-Founder Rick Betts in a media release.

Santangelo, 36, was a junior guard on Dan Monson's 1999 squad that earned a berth to the NCAA tourney that tore through the competition, making it all the way to the Elite Eight where they fell to the eventual tourney champions from Connecticut.

During his senior year Santangelo helped the Zags win the West Coast Conference championship and make it into the post-season as a where Gonzaga made it all the way to the Sweet 16. As of the end of the 2013-14 season, Santangelo is ranked fifth for Gonzaga career points leaders and is first for the Zags in career assists.

Santangelo takes over as executive director for Hoopfest founder and outgoing executive director Rick Steltenpohl, who announced earlier this year he's stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

The official announcement of Santangelo's hiring will happen Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Thornton Murphy Park