With the news of Dennis Gates leaving Cleveland State for Missouri, Cleveland State’s leadership team, headlined by university president Harlan Sands and athletic director Scott Garett was tasked with finding a new face of their program after a magical run with Coach Gates at the helm. After conducting a large nationwide search where many interviews took place in New Orleans at the Final Four, Cleveland State announced that former Iowa State assistant coach Daniyal Robinson would become their next head men’s basketball coach.
Coach Robinson comes to Cleveland a well traveled assistant, who is most well known for his two stints at Iowa State under three different head coaches, his time spent at Loyola (Chicago) with current Oklahoma head coach Porter Moser, and his years at Houston under James Dickey. Robinson also has worked with many current NBA players during his time as an assistant, most notably Tyrese Haliburton, Monte Morris, and Georges Niang. Family is a huge aspect of Coach Robinson’s life, coming from a single parent home where his mother provided for both him and his brother. In fact, during his introductory press conference, Robinson spent a good amount of time talking directly to his family that was in attendance thanking them for their role in their father and husband attaining his goal of becoming a head coach.
Robinson and Dennis Gates came up together in the coaching ranks, so much so that Robinson received an interview with Cleveland State before Gates got the job three years ago. After Gates got the job, Robinson said he paid very close attention to the Vikings’ program and was extremely impressed with what he saw in every aspect of the program from their on court achievements to classroom successes. Despite a different name now leading Cleveland State men’s basketball, this new regime will be tasked with continuing the winning and development of young men that Dennis Gates and his staff put in place at CSU.
With a change in leadership in any collegiate sport, transfers are usually soon to follow and that was no different for Cleveland State. Tre Gomillion and D’Moi Hodge were the first two players to put their names in the portal, with Gomillion joining Coach Gates at Missouri. On Monday, supporting cast members Chris Greene, Mabor Majak, Meechie Terry, and Jeremy Sanchez all entered the transfer portal. Meanwhile, Cleveland State’s basketball twitter account released a video of players training. Players featured were Deshon Parker, Jayson Woodrich, Deante Johnson, Yahel Hill, and Cole Middleton. This could provide a clue as to who could be sticking around from this past year’s squad.
The Vikings will most certainly have a new look next season and with change comes uncertainty. Cleveland State had not enjoyed the type of success they had under Dennis Gates since the early Gary Waters days. Being forced to pivot from a coach like Dennis Gates is not something CSU wanted to do, this is just the life of a mid major basketball program. Instead of fishing for someone who perhaps viewed Cleveland State as a final stop or just another stop, they went with a similar strategy that led them to Dennis Gates in terms of seeking out a qualified assistant who is looking to make a name for himself as a head man; and for that, Harlan Sands and Scott Garrett deserve a ton of credit. While it is impossible to know what the future has in store for Cleveland State men’s basketball, Vikings fans should take solace in the fact that their current administration is currently 1/1 in selecting a successful head coach, so why not make it 2/2?