Dennis Gates Welcomed at Introductory Press Conference

Dennis Gates Welcomed at Introductory Press Conference

Photo Gallery | Full-Length Video of Press Conference 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Dennis Gates was formally introduced as Cleveland State University's head men's basketball coach Tuesday morning inside the CSU Student Center Ballroom.

Gates, who has 16 years of Division I coaching experience, spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach at Florida State. He helped the Seminoles to their first Elite Eight appearance in 25 years in 2018 and 29 wins and a Sweet 16 appearance this past season.

CSU President Harlan M. Sands, CSU Director of Athletics Scott Garrett and Gates each addressed a standing-room-only gathering before the trio answered questions from assembled media.

Below is a sampling of comments from Tuesday's event. For photos from the event, please click here. To view the entire press conference, please click here.

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. 


Dennis Gates (CSU Head Men's Basketball Coach)

"I'm blessed, I'm absolutely blessed, what an opportunity." 

"The game of basketball has been a compass for me that continues to allow me to serve young people." 

"We will exceed expectations, academically and athletically. We will win championships in the classroom, we will win championships on the court and we will win championships in the community." 

"I was ready to sign a contract as soon as I got off the phone with Coach Harlan Sands. He's a coach in my category." 

"Today is not about me. Today belongs to the coaches and educators who poured into my life." 

"To the basketball community in Cleveland and throughout the state of Ohio, our doors are open. They will remain open. I look forward to building upon already existing relationships I have and beginning new ones." 

"Our program will be built on these principles: trust, accountability, unselfishness, toughness, discipline, enthusiasm, love and friendship. You will see this program play the game of basketball that way, you will see this program walk around campus that way and you will see this program meet a stranger that way." 

"On the defensive side of the ball, we will play with absolute, uncanny, relentless toughness. It will not be compromised. We have five musts we have in our program: defensively, we must stop and prevent easy transition baskets; we must keep the ball out of the red zone; we must contest every shot; we must win the rebounding war; we must create offense with our defense."

"On the offensive side of the ball, we will play unselfish and very instinctive. The first five seconds will belong to our players. They will play relentlessly, instinctively and they will play together. The five offensive musts: we must get easy baskets; we must play into the post; we must execute with space, timing and precision; we must crash the offensive glass; and, lastly, we must win the free-throw game."

"I am filled with joy. My family is filled with excitement, and I am humbled to be here. Go Vikes!" 

Scott Garrett (CSU Director of Athletics)

"Dennis Gates rose to the top of an incredible talented pool of interested coaches. It would be easy to stand here and share all of Dennis' variety of basketball accolades—a nationally-known recruiter who has developed NBA-level talent, numerous trips deep into the NCAA tournament and on, and on and on—but here are the things that resonated with us: He talked about a foundation of friendship and his vision for our basketball program; he talked about delivering scholarship, honor and discipline; he talked about leaning on all of you throughout this room for help; he talked about the importance of not sacrificing academics for wins; he talked about community service; he talked about his friends and network of mentors from whom he would seek guidance when he needed help; he talked about the importance of his family."

"When we brought Coach to Cleveland, we asked him 'what makes you nervous about this job?' and he said 'Nothing, we're going do this the right way, and this program will be back because we're all in this together'." 

Harlan M. Sands (CSU President)

"As the front door to our University, college athletics can connect local communities, our faculty, staff, students and our alums to CSU. When we do it right, there is nothing that can compare to the excitement student-athletes bring to all of us, to each other, to the community and to the campus." 

"We were looking for someone with a belief in the power of education to transform lives, someone with unquestioned integrity and values, self-awareness and a drive to improve. We were looking for someone with a belief and a culture and a system of values that lead to success in the classroom and success and life. We were looking for someone with a wealth of dedication, commitment and grit."