News & Announcements

CSU Names Dennis Gates New Men’s Basketball Head Coach

Former FSU assistant helped lead Seminoles to back-to-back Sweet 16s

Cleveland State University Director of Athletics Scott Garrett is excited to name Florida State University men’s basketball assistant coach Dennis Gates as the Vikings’ head men’s basketball coach. Gates, one of the most highly regarded young assistants in college basketball, brings to CSU a track-record of highly accomplished recruiting and student-athlete development success. 

Gates, along with his wife Jocelyn, daughter Avery and son Duke, will be officially introduced at a press conference at 11 a.m., on Tuesday, July 30, in the CSU Student Center Ballroom on campus.

“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, who has 16 years of Division I coaching experience, spent the last eight seasons on Leonard Hamilton’s staff at Florida State. His tenure at Florida State mirrored the Seminoles’ rise to national prominence. With Gates on the staff, the Seminoles played in four NCAA Tournaments, advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2018 NCAA Tournament and to the Sweet 16 in both 2012 and 2019. Last season, Gates helped lead the Seminoles to a 29-8 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Florida State advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Gonzaga. In 2017-18, Florida State had a 23-12 overall record and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years. In addition, the Seminoles have had five NBA Draft picks in the past four seasons, including one lottery pick. Gates was also instrumental in bringing in four consecutive top-15 ranked recruiting classes to Florida State.

“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. “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.”

Before joining the staff at Florida State, Gates served as an assistant with Marquette University, the University of California, Northern Illinois University and the University of Nevada. During his coaching career, Gates has served on coaching staffs that have made 10 postseason appearances.

Gates, a native of Chicago, was an outstanding student-athlete in his own right. As a combo guard at the University of California, he helped the Golden Bears to an 83-46 record and three 20-win seasons. He was also a two-time Pac-10 First Team All-Academic Team selection, was named Cal’s Most Inspirational Player in 2001 and was named the Bears’ Outstanding Student-Athlete in 1999 and 2001. In addition, he was awarded the 2002 Pac-10 Medal of Honor, presented to the Pac-10 Conference’s top graduating student-athlete.

Gates earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California in just three years and played as a master’s degree candidate in education during his senior campaign. He earned his master’s of science degree in adult education and human resource development from Florida State University in 2005.

Fans can show their support for Cleveland State basketball by joining the Viking Fund, renewing season tickets or purchasing season tickets for the Vikings' upcoming 2019-20 campaign. More information is available online at, or by calling 216-687-4848. Schedule details for the 2019-20 season will be released in early August.