Big first year earns Gates raise, extension

Following a 79-71 win that moved Mizzou to 24-8 and into the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time in school history, Missouri has announced a raise and contract extension for Dennis Gates.

The deal now runs through 2028-29 and takes Gates’ guaranteed annual salary from $2.6 million next year to $4 million. It includes an automatic $100,000 raise each year, as did the original contract, meaning he will make $4.5 million in the final year of the deal.

“”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 in a release from the school. “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.”

The raise takes Gates from 12th to 6th in annual salary among SEC coaches. The agreement also adds plenty of security that Gates will remain in Columbia. The buyout to for another school to hire him away immediately increases from $14 million to $25.5 million. Each year, the buyout amounts to the full amount of the guaranteed salary remaining on the contract.

Gates was hired by Missouri on March 22nd last year to replace Cuonzo Martin, who was fired after the Tigers went 12-21 in his fifth year and missed the postseason for the third time in five seasons. He immediately rebuilt the roster, bringing in ten new players while holding on to senior Kobe Brown and previously signed recruit Aidan Shaw. Brown was named to the all-SEC first-team and was the conference’s scholar athlete of the year after averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game with career-high shooting percentages from the field, the three-point line and the free throw line.

In his first season, Gates led the Tigers to an 11-7 record in league play, earning the four seed in the conference tournament, Missouri’s highest in a decade in the SEC. The team is now 24-8 and will face Alabama at noon Saturday in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Missouri is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, though the field won’t be officially announced until Sunday evening.

“We are on an upward trajectory with Coach Gates leading our men’s basketball program,” Reed-Francois, Mizzou’s Director of Athletics, said in the release. “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.”

“When he came here, Dennis Gates talked about building a championship culture, and he is doing just that,” Michael Williams, chair of the Board of Curators, added. “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.”

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