“Why not Cleveland State?” Gates inks extension

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Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates knew what was happening on social media throughout the season, when his name was being thrown around for multiple openings around the NCAA. Little did anyone know that the conversation about extending his contract with the Vikings began in February, even before the buzz about those jobs.

Those conversations between CSU athletic director Scott Garrett and president Harlan Sands culminated into a contract extension for Gates, which will see him helming the Vikings until at least the end the 2026-27 season. It will reportedly make him one of the highest-paid coaches in the Horizon League.

“I knew a conversation was going to happen,” Gates said. “And that conversation needed to happen because what it allowed me to do is know what home felt like and what home is. And it allowed the players to know what home felt like and know what home is. And that is what allowed us to remain focused through our journey of running each and every step of the way towards a championship.

With an extension signed, sealed and delivered, the next challenge Gates will be tackling, on top of defending the Horizon League championship, is using the title as a springboard to bring Cleveland State to a level of popularity not seen since the 1980s, during Kevin Mackey’s dominant run, and the late 2000s, when Gary Waters brought the Vikings back to the NCAA Tournament.

To that challenge, Gates had the response: “Why not Cleveland State?”

“Why can’t we be another institution whose basketball program becomes a national name and listed among the best, year in and year out? Why can’t we become an even better program than we right are at this moment? Why can’t we build an even richer tradition than we already have, due to the greats who have poured their lives into it? What can’t we do such?

“We have a great city,” Gates continued.” We have a great campus. We have among the best sports fans that any city can offer. We have great leadership. We have great student-athletes. We have great support staff. ‘Why can’t we?’ is the question I ask us all.”

Gates already has a nearly-full roster that includes two signees from the fall, juco player Anderson Mirambeaux and Class of 2021 recruit Cole Middleton, a pair of transfers in Broc Finstuen, formerly of Pacific, and Nate Jack, who most recently played at Florida State. In addition, All-Horizon League first-teamer Torrey Patton and starting point guard Craig Beaudion have opted to return for their extra year of eligibility.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Athletics

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