By: Chris Nee | Noels247
July 26, 2019
On Friday morning, Cleveland State formally announced that Florida State Men's Basketball assistant coach Dennis Gates had been hired as their new head basketball coach. The move was first reported by Jeff Goodman of Stadium late on Thursday evening.
Gates has been pursuing head coaching jobs in recent offseasons and is extremely excited for this next step in his coaching career.
"I have dreamed for a long time about serving as a head coach and am humbled and honored to be trusted with this opportunity at Cleveland State University. My family and I are filled with great joy and excitement," Gates said in a release from Cleveland State. "I want to thank President Harlan Sands, Director of Athletics Scott Garrett and the entire search committee for selecting me to be the leader of this program and a leader within the Cleveland community. Together we will work side-by-side to develop our student-athletes, and we will work diligently to maximize the potential of this great urban research institution. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with our student-athletes to win championships in the classroom, on the court and in the community."
Cleveland State University Director of Athletics Scott Garrett announced the news in a release. Gates will be introduced as the Vikings' new head coach during a press conference on Tuesday.
"When we set out two weeks ago to find the next head coach for Cleveland State University men's basketball, it was important to identify a leader of young men who was totally invested in delivering character, accountability, professionalism and an unparalleled passion for developing student-athletes on-and-off the court," said Garrett. "After carefully evaluating an impressive pool of interested candidates, Dennis Gates rose to the top and won this position with his thoughtful plan for transforming the lives of CSU men's basketball student-athletes, regaining our competitive position in the Horizon League and building a program that is representative of all of the incredible momentum occurring on the campus of Cleveland State University."
"Today is a great day for Cleveland State University. Coach Gates has all of the qualities we are looking for in a leader," noted CSU President Harlan Sands. "I look forward to working with Scott and Dennis as we build a successful program that will make CSU proud."
Gates has been a part of Leonard Hamilton’s staff at FSU for the past eight seasons. The Seminoles have reached the NCAA Tournament four times in that stretch, including each of the last three seasons.
Among his many recruiting victories was playing a major role in landing forwards Jonathan Isaac and Mfiondu Kabengele. He also played a key role in the development of those NBA Draft lottery picks. Gates is also credited with working heavily with numerous other Seminole standouts during his time in Tallahassee, including multiple players that have moved on to careers with NBA teams.
Prior to the 2011-12 season when Gates was hired at FSU, he was at Nevada for two seasons. His coaching career also saw two-year stints at Northern Illinois and Cal, which were preceded by one-year stops at FSU, as a graduate assistant in 2004-05, and Marquette, where he began his college coaching career.
Gates began his career as a coaching assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers as a skill development coach during the 2002-03 season.
Gates played at Cal. During his playing career at Cal, the Golden Bears compiled an 83-46 record, winning 20 games in a season three times. In 2002, the Bears reached the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Cal in just three years and played as a master’s degree candidate in education during his senior campaign. He earned his Master of Science degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from Florida State University in 2005.
Gates replaces Dennis Felton at Cleveland State. Felton was fired on July 12.
FSU and Leonard Hamilton have not yet commented on Gates’ next step or who will be hired as a replacement to join the Seminoles staff that still includes Associate head coach Stan Jones as well as fellow assistant coach Charlton Young.