Dennis Gates' desire to recruit and coach outstanding men is what sets him apart from many of his counterparts in college basketball. His desire to work with young men of great character; to help them grow, mature and become better people is why he has become a successful basketball coach. Gates' experiences as a coach and a mentor throughout his career - and now in his third season at Florida State - have helped each of the players and teams he has worked with achieve tremendous success from individual accolades to team championships.
His tireless work as a recruiter has helped Florida State continue to build on the rock solid foundation that head coach Leonard Hamilton has established at Florida State. Gates' success as a recruiter has allowed Florida State to continue moving forward in attracting the best and brightest players to the program which is firmly established as the third winningest program in the Atlantic Coast Conference since the start of the 2005-06 season.
His pinpoint and exacting efforts as a coach have helped the Seminoles continue their success as one of the most prepared teams in all of college basketball. Since Gates' arrival in Tallahassee for the start of the 2011-12 season, the Seminoles have played in two NCAA Tournaments, won the 2012 ACC Championship and defeated six nationally ranked teams including a pair of top five ranked Duke and North Carolina teams on the Seminoles' road to the first ACC Championship in school history.
Gates was an integral member of the Seminoles' coaching staff in 2012 when the Seminoles won the first ACC Championship in school history, played in the NCAA Tournament for the school record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament, finished the season ranked in the top 15 by the major polls, defeated an ACC best six ranked teams, tied the school record with a 12-4 mark in ACC play, beat Duke and North Carolina twice each for the first time in school history, beat all four Tobacco Road teams in the same season for the first time and finished in the top 10 in the NCAA statistics in both field goal percentage defense and blocked shots.
Gates is one of three coaches on the Florida State staff who has coached and developed NBA players. That player development has continued during his first two seasons at Florida State as his work with Bernard James helped propel the Seminoles' all-star power forward to become the 33rd overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft.
One of the sharpest minds in college basketball, Gates' began his collegiate coaching career when he was hired as a graduate assistant at Florida State in 2005. After stops at Marquette, Cal and in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers, he was hired at Northern Illinois in 2008 and elevated to the position of associate head coach after just one season with the Huskies. At only 28 years of age, he became one of the youngest associate head coaches in all of college basketball in 2008. He was Northern Illinois' lead recruiter, coached the Huskie guards and helped numerous players earn All-Mid-American Conference and MAC All-Freshman honors during his two years there.
Gates has helped coach the Seminoles to a pair of postseason appearances in his first two seasons at Florida State -- the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and to the NIT in 2013 - extending the Seminoles' school record of consecutive postseason appearances to eight. He also helped coach Cal into the 2006 NCAA Tournament and Nevada into the 2010 NIT. As a player, Gates was a three-year team captain (and four year varsity letterwinner) at Cal and led the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002, the 1999 NIT title and the 2000 NIT Final Eight
In his first season as an assistant coach at Cal the Golden Bears saw their wins total increase from 13 (2004-05) to 20 (2005-06). In his first season as an assistant at Florida State, the Seminoles saw their win total increase from 23 (2010-11) to 25 (2011-12).
Gates began his career as a coaching assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers as a skill development coach during the 2002-03 season. He worked with a strong collection of players that included 10 prospects with three years or fewer years of experience including future All-Stars Elton Brand and Lamar Odom. Brand finished the season as the Clippers' leading scorer with an 18.5 points per game average while Odom ranked third on the team with a 14.6 points per game average. Brand and Odom formed one of the NBA's highest scoring and best shooting front court duos in the NBA with Gates on the Clippers' staff. The Clippers finished in the top 10 in the NBA statistics for blocked shots, free throws made and free throws attempted.
PREPARING PLAYERS TO REACH THE NBA
With Bernard James' selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, Gates' expanded his resume of developmental success to four NBA Draft selections. In addition to working with James (second round pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012) he has also worked with power forward Leon Powe at Cal (second round NBA Draft pick in 2006 as well as Travis Diener (second round pick of the Orlando Magic in 2005) and Steve Novak (second round pick of Houston Rockets in 2006) of Marquette.
OUTSTANDING RECRUITING SUCCESS
Florida State has become a destination for some of the nation's top recruits under Leonard Hamilton and Gates has been directly responsible for continuing that pipeline to Tallahassee since his arrival in 2011. He has helped assemble top ranked recruiting classes at Florida State, Cal, Nevada and Northern Illinois. The many players he has had a hand in recruiting have become the cornerstones of their respective programs and future NBA and professional players. His 2006 class at Cal included four top-150 recruits; Taylor Harrison, All Pac-10 guards Patrick Christopher, Jerome Randle and All Pac-10 power forward and 2008 NBA first-round draft pick Ryan Anderson. Following the 2006-07 season, Anderson was selected to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Gates has been instrumental in bring two top-15 ranked recruiting classes full of talent to Florida State and works daily to ensure that tradition continues at Florida State. Florida State's outstanding 2013 recruiting class (Jarquez Smith and Xavier Rathan-Mayes) will certainly complement the Seminoles' highly thought of 2012 recruiting class (Boris Bojanovsky, Michael Ojo, Devon Bookert, Montay Brandon and Aaron Thomas) which together forms the nucleus of the Florida State roster in 2013.
In each of his stops as an assistant coach, Gates has played a significant role in helping his teams improve statistically. Northern Illinois finished his first season (2008-09) ranked among the top five in six different statistical categories in the Mid-American Conference including third in scoring (66.2 ppg), third in three-point field goal percentage (34.7) and fourth in assists (12.4 apg). All were significant improvements from the 2007-08 campaign. The 2008-09 season saw the Huskies go 7-5 at home, their first winning record since the 2005-06 season. Overall, Northern Illinois improved its win total by four wins in Gate's first season as the Huskies associate head coach. During his second season at Nevada, the Wolf Pack finished third in the league statistics in rebounding (36.8 rpg), fourth in blocked shots (3.7 bpg) and fourth in field goal percentage defense .426). The Wolf Pack also ranked in the top 15 in the nation in scoring and field goal percentage and broke school single-season marks for scoring and field goals made and attempted in 2009. In his three seasons as an assistant coach at Cal, the Bears averaged nearly 17 wins a season and won 20 games in advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Florida State has won 43 games in Gates' first two seasons under Hamilton. In his first season at Florida State, he helped Florida State continue to stand as one of the nation's top defensive teams. Florida State finished fifth in the nation in field goal percentage defense and sixth in blocked shots. The Seminoles defeated an ACC high six ranked teams and defeated all four Tobacco Road teams in the ACC (Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest) in the same season for the first time in school history. In his second season, the Seminoles led the ACC in blocked shots and finished second in free throw shooting percentage. It marked the school record fourth consecutive season the Seminoles have led the ACC in blocked shots while their second place finish in the team statistics in free throw percentage shooting marked an improvement of 10 positions in the league statistics.
SECOND TIME AROUND
Gates was a graduate assistant at Florida State under Hamilton during the 2004-05 season - a year that the foundation for the current Seminole program began to take shape. The Seminoles counted a victory over No. 3 ranked Wake Forest in their win total with their win over the Deacons marking the third victory over a top five ranked team under Hamilton. Gates played a part in the development of future pros Al Thornton, Alexander Johnson and Von Wafer during his first season in Tallahassee with Thornton becoming only the second NBA Draft Lottery selection in Florida State history in 2007.
Gates has learned the game from some of basketball's all-time greatest coaches including Hamilton who is one of the top 20 all-time winningest coaches in ACC history. He played and coached under Ben Braun at Cal (the 2003 Naismith National Coach of the Year), Tom Crean at Marquette (the 2012 National Coach of the Year by ESPN.com), Ricardo Patton at Northern Illinois and David Carter at Nevada. Braun, currently the head coach at Rice, has taken eight teams to the NCAA Tournament while Crean, the current head coach at Indiana, has guided six teams to the NCAA Tournament including his 2003 Marquette team which advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. Crean led Indiana to the 2013 Big Ten Championship and led the Hoosiers to an incredible 10 weeks at the No. 1 ranking during the 2012-13 season. Gates also worked under Alvin Gentry and the late Dennis Johnson while a coaching assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers.
During his playing career at Cal the Golden Bears compiled an 83-46 record, winning 20 games in a season three times. In 2002, the Bears reached the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Gates was named to the All-Tournament team at the Golden Bear Classic in 2002 after hitting a three-pointer to beat Penn State, 76-73, in the closing seconds of the championship game. He played in 114 career games, started 34 games and finished his career with an scoring average of 3.8 points per game as well as 100 steals and 148 assists.
Gates was a two-time Pac 10 First Team All-Academic Team selection, was named Cal's Most Inspirational Player (2001) and was twice named the Bears' Outstanding Student-Athlete (1999 and 2001). In addition, he was awarded the 2002 Pac-10 Medal of Honor (given to the Pac-10 Universities Top Graduating Student-Athlete).
COACHING IS A FAMILY AFFAIR
Gates' younger brother, Armon, is in his first season as a member of Chris Collins' staff at Northwestern. Armon has coached at Loyola of Chicago (two seasons, 2012-13). TCU (2011), Kent State (two seasons, 2009-10) and was a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky as he helped the Hilltoppers advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. As a player Armon led Kent State to an 88-42 overall record and three postseason appearances.
Gates earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Cal in just three years and played as a master's degree candidate in education during his senior campaign. He earned his Master of Science degree in adult education & human resource development from Florida State University in 2005.
Assistant Coaching Positions
Year School Overall/Conference Record Accomplishments
2003-04 Marquette 19-12/8-8 Conference USA NIT Quarterfinals
2004-05 Florida State 12-19/4-12 ACC Defeated No.3 Wake Forest
2005-06 Cal 20-11/12-6 PAC-10 NCAA First Round
2006-07 Cal 16-17/6-12 PAC-10 Defeated No. 4
No. 15 ranked Oregon
2008-09 Northern Illinois 10-20/5-11 MAC Coached the MAC Freshman of the Year
2009-10 Nevada 21-13/11-5 WAC NIT First Round
2010-11 Nevada 13-19/8-8 WAC Coached the WAC Freshman of the Year
2011-12 Florida State 25-10/12-4 ACC NCAA East Regional Third Round
2012-13 Florida State 18-16/9-9 ACC NIT First Round