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Missouri appeared close to hiring Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates on Saturday afternoon, according to multiple reports – one day after Florida hired Todd Golden away from San Francisco as the SEC March Madness of coaching musical chairs continues.
PowerMizzou.com reported that Missouri’s Board of Curators were expected to meet about Gates.
Should Missouri finalize the hiring of Gates, there would still be three SEC schools looking for men’s basketball coaches – South Carolina, Mississippi State and LSU. There were six shortly after the regular season ended – Georgia, Missouri, LSU, Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina.
Georgia was the first of the six to fire its coach, Tom Crean, and first to hire a new one in Florida coach Mike White, who swapped rival schools.
Gates, 42, inherited a 10-21 program that went 5-13 in the Horizon League in 2018-19. He went 11-21 overall and 7-11 in his first season in 2019-20.
In 2020-21, Gates put Cleveland State in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 and finished 19-8 overall and as Horizon League champions with a 16-4 mark. The Vikings won the Horizon League again in 2022 and finished 20-11 overall after a loss in the first round of the NIT.
A Chicago native, Gates was an assistant coach at Florida State from 2011-19 before getting the Cleveland State job. He previously was an assistant at California, where he played, and at Northern Illinois and at Nevada. Missouri fired coach Cuonzo Martin after five seasons following the SEC Tournament.
Gates makes $550,000 a year at Cleveland State.