April 19, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) –
Head Coach Leonard Hamilton has added Dennis Gates, a rising star in the college basketball coaching arena, to his staff at Florida State. Gates is a veteran of NCAA and postseason play having helped coach Nevada to the 2010 NIT and Cal to the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Gates’ addition to Hamilton’s staff gives the Seminoles four coaches (including Hamilton) who have coached in the NBA and who have extensive coaching success in developing players for professional careers. Gates began his career as a coaching assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers and worked extensively with the players in skill development.
“Dennis Gates is a great addition to our staff,” said head coach Leonard Hamilton. “He is familiar with our system and has been a successful coach and recruiter at three very strong programs during a relatively short beginning to his coaching career. He began his coaching career as a skill developer for the Los Angeles Clippers and has earned assistant coaching positions for top programs where he has continued to help players who have prospered in professional basketball. Dennis’ experiences have allowed him to develop into a solid coach and an outstanding teacher who has built a national recruiting base that will help our program continue to attract players who will help to raise our national profile.”
Gates comes to Florida State after two successful seasons at Nevada where he helped the Wolf Pack advance to the second round of the NIT in 2009 and win 34 games during his two years on the bench. Nevada won at Wichita State in the first round of the 2009 NIT to hand the Shockers their first home loss of the season. 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.
Gates’ hard work was rewarded when he was hired at Northern Illinois and elevated to associate head coach after just one season with the Huskies. At age 28, 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 while in Normal, Ill.
A Chicago native, Gates began his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, Cal, under then head coach Ben Braun. He helped the Golden Bears win 20 games and earn an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears defeated two ranked teams including No. 11 UCLA in his first season as an assistant coach. Gates helped coach current NBA star Leon Powe to All-America honors during his collegiate career at Cal. Powe was the Denver Nuggets’ second round draft choice in the NBA Draft in 2006.
Following his very successful career as a player at Cal, he began his coaching career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers (2002-03) and as a graduate assistant under Tom Crean at Marquette University (2003-04). During his one season at Marquette, the Golden Eagles advanced to the third round of the NIT and defeated nationally ranked Louisville twice during the season. The Cardinals were ranked No. 4 nationally when Marquette won at Louisville.
As a player, Gates was a three-year team captain at Cal and helped the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002 and to the 1999 NIT title and the 2000 NIT Final Eight. He was a two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection and won the 2002 Pac-10 Medal of Honor, which is annually presented to the top graduating student-athlete in the Pac-10. It is the highest honor a Pac-10 student-athlete can earn.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to come back to Florida State,” said Gates. “I was here as Coach Hamilton was building the infrastructure for his program and I am fortunate to be able to return to Tallahassee. I am happy to be part of one of the outstanding programs in the nation’s top conference. For me to be able to work with one of my mentors in Coach Hamilton is a blessing for me. He is one of the true ambassadors for the sport of college basketball and the type of person and coach that I want to become one day.”