COLOMBIA, Missouri — Missouri is preparing to hire Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates as its next men’s basketball coach, pending approval by the UM System’s Board of Trustees, sources confirmed Saturday. The Board of Directors must provide 24 hours’ notice prior to holding a closed executive meeting to approve the contract. As of Saturday, the council had not issued that notice.
The terms of the proposed transaction are not clear. Gates is under contract in Cleveland until 2027 with a salary of $550,000. Gates has also been linked to job openings in South Carolina and Louisiana, both of which opened after Missouri fired Konzo Martin on March 11.
ESPN first reported Friday night that Missouri targeted Gates for the post. Saturday morning, a plane owned by longtime Mizu donor Richard Miller was scheduled to leave his corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, Kansas, fly to Cleveland and then head to Columbia Regional Airport. But the plane never took off, according to flight records, adding some intrigue to Mizu’s pursuit of the 42-year-old.
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Missouri athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois has not been available for comment since Maison Martin was fired after the Tigers were eliminated from the Southeast Conference championships.
Gates is 50-40 in three seasons at Cleveland State with two consecutive Horizon League Championships and one NCAA Championship appearance in 2021. His previous coaching jobs have taken on supporting roles.
The Chicago native played collectively in California in the Pac 10 and worked as an assistant across the country, including stops at Marquette, Cal, Northern Illinois, Nevada and Florida, spending eight seasons under longtime Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton. At FSU, Gates helped sign seven of the top 100 potential clients, including many who developed into the NBA draft.
The Cleveland State team finished this year 20-11, 15-6 in the Horizon League to tie for the regular season championship, but the Vikings lost to Wright State in the Horizon League Conference Tournament and had to accept the NIT invite. CSU lost to Xavier in the first round of NIT on Tuesday.
Last year, CSU won the Horizon League for automatic placement in the NCAA Tournament, then lost to Houston in the first round. Cleveland State has averaged 10 wins per year in the four seasons prior to the Gates’ arrival and is yet to finish a conference winning record since 2015.
Gates’ four seasons in Florida ended with an NCAA Championship appearance, including a first-round victory over Cuonzo Martin’s Missouri Tigers in 2018, on FSU’s path to the Elite Eight.
Gates’ staff at Cleveland State includes assistant coach and recruitment coordinator Drew Joyce III, who was a classmate at LeBron James High School in Akron, Ohio, son of Drew Joyce II, their coach at St. Vincent St. Marie high.
It’s unclear what other nominees Reed Francois officially met last week, though Todd Golden of San Francisco, Matt McMahon of Murray State, and former Meizu player Kim English George Mason were all thought to be prime targets, along with Gates. . Since then, Golden has accepted the position of head coach in Florida.