COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted unanimously Thursday to approve a contract extension through the 2028-29 season for Whitten Family Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dennis Gates.
“When he came here, Dennis Gates talked about building a championship culture, and he is doing just that,” said Michael Williams, chair of the Board of Curators. “He is an individual with high standards and a clear vision for our student athletes. It has been an exceptional season, and the Board is very excited to witness our program build on this success.”
Gates, whose original contract ran through the 2027-28 season, will see his annual salary increase to $4 million in 2023-24, with $100,000 increases each season through the life of the amended agreement. All other terms of his original contract remain the same.
“Thank you to the Board of Curators, President Mun Choi and Desireé Reed-Francois for this opportunity to continue to lead Missouri basketball,” Gates said. “The city of Columbia is my home, my family loves it here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. My staff has done a tremendous job of supporting my dream building on the great tradition of Mizzou. I’m proud to be a Tiger and to coach at this wonderful institution.”
“Coach Gates has transformed Mizzou basketball in less than a single season,” said Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri. “His bold and strategic coaching methods have molded a team that embodies the grit and determination of our university. Under his direction, his players have been successful both on the court and in the classroom. Every fan is excited about the direction of Mizzou basketball, and we will all enjoy cheering for Dennis Gates and our team in the upcoming NCAA tournament.”
“We are on an upward trajectory with Coach Gates leading our men’s basketball program,” said Desireé Reed-Francois, Director of Athletics at MU. “We have seen the program’s immediate results through wins on the court, record-setting numbers in the classroom and creating enthusiasm in our community. Coach Gates has talked openly about his goals of winning championships and hanging banners in Mizzou Arena and I believe we are on that path under his leadership.”
Gates enjoyed one of best debut seasons by a Mizzou head coach, leading the Tigers to 24 wins, second most for a first-year coach. USA Today tabbed him as its 2023 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year. Missouri, picked 11th in the SEC preseason poll, matched its best record since joining the league in 2012-13 at 11-7, claimed a double bye and the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament before advancing to its first SEC Semifinal in Mizzou history on Friday.
With a renewed departmental focus on fan experience, the Tigers sold out seven games, the second most in Mizzou Arena history, and averaged 11,377 fans per game, ranking fourth in the SEC. The 62.6-percent increase in attendance from 2021-22 is the highest jump nationally among Power 6 schools.
Of the 24 men’s basketball coaches who have joined the SEC since 2012-13, Gates’ 24 wins this season were the most for a first-year coach in the league since John Calipari won 35 games in his first season at Kentucky (2009-10).
Academically, men’s basketball recorded its highest-ever fall semester GPA in 2022 with three student-athletes achieving a 4.0, four securing a spot on the Dean’s List and 13 who earned a 3.0 GPA or higher. Kobe Brown was named the 2023 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the program’s first-ever honoree.
The Tigers (24-8) return to action Saturday in the SEC Tournament semifinals against No. 1 seed Alabama. The game tips off from Nashville, Tennessee, at noon CT and airs on ESPN and the Tiger Radio Network.
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