CLEVELAND — The accolades for Cleveland State men's basketball coach Dennis Gates keep on coming.
On Tuesday, the 41-year-old Gates was named the Horizon League's Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Gates shared the honor with Wright State's Scott Nagy in 2020. Gates is the first coach in Vikings history to be awarded Horizon League Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons and only the eighth head coach in Horizon League history to be awarded the honor in consecutive seasons.
Picked to finish seventh in the league's preseason poll, Gates led the Vikings to a 16-4 conference record in 2020-21, good for a first place tie with Wright State. The 16 Horizon League victories wins were the most in any conference/league play in program history.
The Vikings have the top seed in the upcoming Horizon League tournament.
After losing all three of its non-conference games to begin the season, Cleveland State reeled off nine consecutive victories to start Horizon League play, capped off by a buzzer-beating win at Wright State on national television on January 15. It was the longest winning streak for the Vikings in ten years and their best start in any league/conference play since beginning the 1992-93 season 14-0.
The Vikings won six of their final eight games to secure their first Horizon League regular season title since the 2010-11 season. CSU's next game will be hosting a Horizon League tournament quarterfinal contest on Tuesday, March 2nd at the Wolstein Center against the lowest-seeded winner of the opening round.
In addition to Gates' Coach of the Year award, Vikings guard Torey Patton was named All-League First Team, Tre Gomillion was honored as the league's Defensive Player of the Year, and forward Deante Johnson joined Gomillion on the All-League Defensive Team.
Editor's Note: You can see an interview that Nick Camino did with Dennis Gates on January 14, 2021 in the player below:
- Cleveland State overcomes halftime deficit to beat Purdue Fort Wayne 67-55, earn share of 1st conference title in 10 years
- Former Cleveland State manager gets his shot with first-place Vikings
- Cleveland State men's basketball coach Dennis Gates goes one-on-one with Nick Camino about the Vikings' hot start to the 2020-2021 season