Connecting the community
with student-athletes

How it works.

Friends of Spike is a fan-driven and alumni-led Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) program for Gonzaga University student-athletes, alumni, and fans. When you commit to Friends of Spike, you’re committing to maximizing opportunities for student-athletes to build their brand and earn compensation. Plus you gain access to exclusive events, autograph sessions, and more.

Our team

Matt Santangelo
General Manager

Matt serves as the General Manager of student-athlete and client relations in the Spokane Region. Matt Santangelo (Class of 2000) was the starting point guard for Gonzaga basketball from 1997-2000. Touted as the highest ranked recruit at the time, Matt lead the Zags onto the national scene with a run to the 1999 NCAA Elite Eight. They followed the Cinderella season with a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000. Those historic seasons were the start of the greatest story in college basketball. Matt graduated from Gonzaga as number 3 all-time scoring leader, and number 1 all-time assist leader. He remains in the top 10 in both categories. During his time at GU, he was recognized as All-Conference multiple years, honorable mention All-American and won a gold medal on the 22-under Team USA national team. Following GU, Matt played professionally throughout Europe for the better part of 7 seasons being named to the All-Rookie Team in the Spanish ACB league and winning an Italian Serie A Championship in 2006.  Most recently, Matt was the Executive Director of the world’s largest 3on3 basketball tournament, Hoopfest. He lives in Spokane, WA with his wife Cathy and their 3 children (Calvin, Luca and Stella). He is proud Zag and excited to still play a positive role with a program and university he believes in. 


Here are the most common questions we receive about how individuals and companies can get involved with NIL opportunities with student-athletes.

I am a business owner and would like to align my brand with Friends of Spike. How can I get more involved?

Friends of Spike is always looking to add value to fans, student-athletes, and businesses in the community. Partnering with a local student-athlete can be a great extension of your brand and help expand your marketing. If you have ideas for partnership opportunities, please email Shaniqua Niles at

I’d like to set up a meet and greet with a student-athlete, have a student-athlete coach my child, or get a personalized video. Are you able to assist with this?

Yes! If there is a custom opportunity you would like to create with a Gonzaga student-athlete, we will do our best to facilitate the engagement. You can either hire an athlete directly through the site using their profile or click here to submit your ideas and questions.

Is Friends of Spike affiliated with Gonzaga University?

No. Friends of Spike is a third-party organization, not affiliated with Gonzaga University. However, Friends of Spike’s leadership is comprised, in part, by Gonzaga University alumni and former student-athletes dedicated to creating a program that exclusively benefits the student-athletes, fans, and businesses in the community.

What does Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) mean?

“NIL” is the term used to associate with student-athletes ability to earn money off their individual brand. As of July 1, 2021, student-athletes across the country can now profit off their name, image, and likeness. Prior to July 1st, 2021, a student-athlete could not monetize from creating a YouTube channel, hosting a camp, or selling a signed jersey. Now, for example, a student-athlete may earn money for:

  1. Hosting their own basketball, soccer, or other sports camp. 
  2. Partnering with and promoting a local restaurant or business.  
  3. Having a photoshoot and autograph session.

Contact Us

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