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Cleveland State hires Florida State assistant Dennis Gates as head coach

Gates joins the program after a long stint on Leonard Hamilton’s staff.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 01 Wright State at Cleveland State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cleveland State’s coaching search has come to an end. The Vikings announced Friday morning that the program has hired Florida State assistant Dennis Gates as head coach.

Gates comes to the program after spending eight years on Leonard Hamilton’s staff — a tenure that resulted in four NCAA Tournaments and five NBA Draft picks. Cleveland State Athletic Director Scott Garrett had this to say about what Gates can bring to the table:

“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.”

Gates inherits a roster that is essentially barren. Most of the key contributors transferred following Dennis Felton’s dismissal, and options are few and far between to fill out the team. Nonetheless, Gates expressed his excitement to get a start on rebuilding a program that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2009.