CSU Athletics welcomes Michael Thomas as athletic director and Dennis Felton as head basketball coach.
Both men agree that alumni support is critical to the future success of the athletic program.
“There’s no way [we] can do it by ourselves,” Felton says. “Support in the arena helps win games, helps with recruiting and helps provide the resources necessary to build a high-performing program.”
Adds Thomas, “Alumni are our greatest and most important stakeholder. Whether they’re attending games, mentoring student-athletes, providing support in other ways or wearing the Viking colors proudly wherever they live, that’s extremely important.”
Thomas served as athletic director at the University of Illinois from 2011-15, where teams won a national championship, claimed four Big Ten titles in one year, earned numerous top 10 rankings and made multiple Bowl and NCAA tournament appearances.
He also served as athletic director at the University of Cincinnati and The University of Akron, taking the Zips to their first Mid-American Conference Championship in football.
Felton was assistant head coach at the University of Tulsa for the last three years. The program won 59 games and earned two postseason berths, including an NCAA tournament appearance in 2016.
He has been the head coach for men’s basketball at the University of Georgia, where the team won the 2008 SEC tournament title and a berth in the NCAA tournament, and at Western Kentucky University, where teams won six straight conference championships and made three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, while also having a 100 percent graduation rate.
Gary Waters, the winningest coach in Vikings basketball history, retired this spring after 11 seasons (2006-2017) at the helm of the men’s team.
Waters led CSU to six postseason berths, including reaching the second round of the 2009 NCAA tournament. He concluded his career as the all-time leader in wins (194), Horizon League wins (99) and games coached (366), while also ranking second in winning percentage (.530). All seniors in the program during his tenure graduated with their degree; the program received four consecutive public recognition awards from the NCAA (2012-16) for having an academic performance rate that was in the top 10 percent nationally.
During his career, he coached multiple players who went on to professional basketball careers, including former Viking Norris Cole, who is currently a guard for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
For his service to CSU, Waters was awarded the President’s Medal at Spring Commencement. The medal is CSU’s most prestigious nonacademic recognition.
CSU will join the Mid-American Conference and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission as hosts for the 2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship’s First and Second Rounds. CSU also will co-host the 2019 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
The basketball games will be played at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday, March 20, and Sunday, March 22. The fencing championships will be held March 21-24, and will determine men’s and women’s team and individual champions. Fencers compete in three disciplines: Foil, Épée and Sabre. Read more at the CSU website >>
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