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Feb. 13, 2014

Waters sets new CSU record

By Lalita Smith

Coach Gary WatersGary Waters, head coach of the men’s basketball team, can now add another accomplishment to his already remarkable basketball resume.

With an exciting 82-68 win over Eastern Illinois on Jan. 28, Coach Waters became the winningest coach in Cleveland State history—with 150 career wins, he surpasses the former 149 win record held by Ray Dieringer, (1969-1983).

Since beginning his coaching career at his alma mater Ferris State, Waters has been essential to the growth, progress and success of basketball programs across the northeast.

Waters began his head coaching career at Kent State where, in his third season (1998-1999), the team not only held a then school record of 23 wins (23-7)—Kent State also won the Mid American Conference tournament championship and received an NCAA tournament bid—both for the first time in school history.

Waters then took his coaching talents to Rutgers in 2001—two years later he led the team to a 20 win season for the first time since the 1981-1982 season.

Since his arrival at Cleveland State in 2006, Coach Waters has been pivotal to the rebuilding and revitalization of a team that—before him—had only three winning seasons out of 13 championship tries.

Waters attributes his success to God, the coaching staffs he’s had over the years, and the players.
“I get the credit, but they [the coaching staff] do a lot of the work,.When you have good coaches under you, you can have success,” said Waters.

Looking back, the strides and accomplishments that coach Waters and the Vikings have made since the 2006-2007 season are both numerous and impressive.

The Vikings boasted back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009—a first since the 1986-1988 seasons.
Waters has lead the team for a total of four 20-win seasons, the second most in Cleveland State history.

Waters has had plenty luck in post season play as well—owning four post season appearances within the last six seasons as well as two trips to the Horizon League Championship game, (2009 and 2011), the first two in Cleveland State history.

here were other firsts for coach Waters, including a coveted Horizon League regular season title in 2011.
Waters also had the opportunity to coach two future NBA players, one of whom was Norris Cole—a first round draft pick who went on to win two consecutive NBA championships with the Miami Heat

High level players like Cole have been the keys to Waters’ continued success.
“We’ve had some outstanding players that create this opportunity for us,” said Waters.

During his final season with the Vikings, Cole was ranked 12th overall in the nation in scoring and was also the first Horizon league player to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

A large part of their success this season, according to Waters, is the fact that the Vikings have been shooting the ball extremely well.

The Vikings clearly have their eyes on the prize, winning six of their last seven games and holding an impressive 8-3 record in conference play—putting them in second place.