April 6, 2006
Contact: Brian McCann
CLEVELAND - Gary Waters, who amassed 171 wins and led teams to six post-season appearances over the last 10 seasons as head coach at Rutgers and Kent State, has been named the 14th head coach in the history of the Cleveland State men's basketball program. The announcement was made by CSU Director of Athletics Lee Reed on Thursday (April 6).
Terms of the Waters contract have not been finalized and will be subject to the approval of the CSU Board of Trustees. He replaces Mike Garland, who stepped down last week after compiling a 23-60 record over the last three seasons.
"The addition of Gary Waters as head coach will hopefully be viewed years from now as the turning point in the history of the Cleveland State basketball program," Reed said. "To hire a head coach who has achieved the things that Gary has is a big step for the Viking program.
"Gary is respected around the country for his accomplishments on the court, and once the fans in Northeast Ohio get to know him as a person, they will be equally as impressed with his character and personality.
"The search for a head coach was made very easy because every avenue I explored came back to Gary Waters. He is an experienced Division I basketball coach who has shown the ability to get the most out of his players and take programs to the next level."
"I am happy to be back coaching in northeast Ohio," Waters said. "This is where I received my head coaching start 10 years ago and I look forward to adding to my coaching memories in this area.
"It only took me a few minutes speaking with (CSU president) Dr. (Michael) Schwartz and Lee Reed to understand the vision that they have for both the university and the athletic department and to realize that I wanted to be part of this process.
"I have always viewed Cleveland State basketball as a program with a great deal of potential and it is my goal to build a program that the whole city will get behind," Waters added.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Waters served as an assistant coach for 22 years at Ferris State and Eastern Michigan before taking over as head coach at Kent State in 1996.
Inheriting a Kent State program that had managed just one winning season in the previous seven years, Waters led the Golden Flashes to a 92-60 record in five seasons from 1996-2001, including a 70-25 mark over his final three campaigns.
More importantly, he developed the program that has found sustained success, going on to record eight straight 20-win seasons, five of which came after Waters departed for Rutgers in the spring of 2001.
Waters' impact on the Kent State program became evident in his third season (1998-99) when he guided the Golden Flashes to a school-record 23 wins (23-7), winning the Mid-American Conference tournament championship and receiving its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.
Kent State matched the program record for wins in 1999-2000, posting a 23-8 record that included a trip to the quarterfinal round of the NIT.
Waters is one of only three coaches in the history of the Mid-American Conference to earn MAC Coach of the Year honors in successive seasons, receiving the award in both 1999 and 2000.
Waters' made his last season at Kent State (2000-01) a memorable one, leading the Flashes to a school-record 24 wins (24-10 overall) and the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament championships. KSU provided the NCAA Tournament with one of its biggest upsets that year as the 13th-seeded Flashes upended fourth-seeded Indiana, 77-73. KSU fell to No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.
Waters moved to Rutgers for the 2001-02 season, leading the Scarlet Knights to an 18-13 record, making only their third post-season appearance in 11 seasons. Two years later, Rutgers won 20 games for the first time since 1981-82, including wins over Temple, West Virginia, Villanova and Iowa State to advance to the championship game of the NIT.
This past season, Rutgers made its third NIT appearance under Waters, upending Penn State in the first round before falling to Saint Joseph's in the second round.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Waters was an NAIA all-district selection as a senior at Ferris State in 1973-74, Waters attended the preseason camp of the Detroit Pistons in 1974 before eventually playing professionally overseas in Spain that year. He returned to Ferris State to earn his bachelor's degree business administration in 1975. He later earned a master's degree in educational administration from Central Michigan in 1976 and a second bachelor's degree in business education from Ferris State in 1978.
Waters and his wife Bernadette have two grown children, son Sean and daughter, Seena.
GARY WATERS COACHING RECORD
THE GARY WATERS FILE
Full Name: Gary Steven Waters
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