An assistant at FSU since the 2011-12 season, his name has been mentioned around several job openings in recent years. Cleveland State is a mess, and head coach Dennis Felton was fired two weeks ago. Almost the entire roster has moved on, including their best player to the University of Florida, and Gates’ first job will be to find some players.
Coach Gates was part of an impressive recruiting staff for Coach Hamilton, and was key in landing Mfiondu Kabengele, Jon Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, and several others.
Most coaching changes are handled in May, so it will be interesting to see who Coach Hamilton is able to find as a replacement. Gates has been actively involved with current recruits, and the next assistant will need to be a strong recruiter. With Coach Young and Coach Jones having strong ties in the South, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a coach brought in with a Northeast or West Coast background.
This is a big loss, but the reason to bring in young assistant coaches is to groom them to become head coaches. The most famous former Ham assistant is Kansas head coach Bill Self. More recently, Corey Williams left to become the head coach at Stetson, and is now an assistant coach at Arkansas.
Gates takes over a team that has gone 22-44 over the past two years. The Horizon League is a solid basketball conference, and could be a great stepping stone. Recent Horizon grads include Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics) and Bryce Drew (Vanderbilt).