Cleveland State University
Men's basketball coach Dennis Gates is introduced in 2019.
Cleveland State University athletics announced Tuesday what had been rumored for the past several days: men's basketball coach Dennis Gates, architect and shaman of the recent Vikings renaissance, would be departing CSU to become head coach for the University of Missouri men's basketball team.
Gates led the Vikings through one of the most successful stretches in the men's basketball program's history. Under his watch, the Vikes tallied the best regular season record in the Horizon League in both 2021 and 2022. They won the Horizon League Championship last year and secured a berth in the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in the program's history.
During his three seasons, Gates won Horizon League Coach of the Year twice, and led the Vikings to a 50-40 overall record.
"It is bittersweet to leave Cleveland State University, as the last three years consisted of incredible lifelong memories," Gates said in a statement published by CSU athletics. "With the leadership of President Harlan Sands, Athletic Director Scott Garrett and the entire administration, we accomplished championships in the classroom, on the court and in the community."
Garrett published his own statement thanking Gates and assuring the community that a national search was already underway to find a replacement and continue building a "championship level" program.
Garrett said that Gates and the CSU teams of the past three years "absolutely delivered on everything we had envisioned when we named Dennis our coach in July of 2019... We are confident that the college basketball community has seen what is possible at CSU, and the massive impact that a CSU men's basketball team operating at peak performance levels has on Cleveland State's Engaged Learning mission."
Gates will be introduced to the Mizzou community at a noon press conference. The athletics department there described Gates as "a proven recruiter, a strong evaluator of talent, an innovative teacher of the game, [with a] unique enthusiasm and passion for his work and for his student athletes that draws people in."
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