COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri could officially have a new men’s basketball coach by Tuesday.
Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates, Mizzou’s pick to replace Cuonzo Martin, was supposed to be among the passengers on a flight from Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport that landed at Columbia Regional Airport at 9 a.m. Monday. Several Mizzou officials were on the tarmac when passengers were dropped off the plane in a black SUV parked next to the plane, a Gulfstream jet owned by longtime Mizzou donor Richard Miller. Mizzou Athletics Director Desiree Reed-Francois was at the airport on Monday.
The UM System Board of Trustees will meet via Zoom on Tuesday morning at 7am when they are expected to formally approve Gates’ contract, the terms of which are not yet known. MU could host Gates’ introductory press conference as early as Tuesday afternoon.
The 42-year-old Chicago native has spent the last three seasons with Cleveland State, turning a ailing Horizon League program into an NCAA tournament team in his sophomore season. The Vikings were averaging 10 wins per season in the four years prior to Gates’ arrival in 2019, and after an 11-21 debut season, Gates has gone 39-19 for the past two years and won the Horizon League regular-season championship in both seasons . He has spent the last eight years as an assistant in the state of Florida.
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Gates will replace Martin, who was 78-77 in five seasons with Mizzou with two NCAA tournament appearances. Gates will be the first major coach to Reed-Francois, who joined Mizzou from UNLV last summer.