Gary Waters retires as coach at Cleveland State

CLEVELAND -- Gary Waters earned his reputation building college programs. After 11 seasons, he's finished at Cleveland State.

The winningest coach in school history, Waters announced Tuesday that he is retiring after his second straight 9-win season. Waters is stepping down just a few days after the Vikings were beaten in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament.

"My time here at Cleveland State has been a tremendous capstone to my coaching career," Waters said. "I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to mentor an amazing group of student athletes and look forward to the opportunity to continue to support the program in the future."

The school said Waters' contract was renegotiated in 2016, providing an option of two additional seasons if certain performance measures were met. The 65-year-old Waters retired instead.

During his time at the school, Waters won 194 games and led the Vikings to six postseason appearances. In 2009, Cleveland State made the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round after shocking Wake Forest.

Waters took over at CSU in 2006 after five seasons at Rutgers and he averaged 20 wins in his first six seasons. However, Waters was unable to maintain the success as CSU's program was hurt by several top players transferring. The Vikings went just 18-45 in Waters' final two seasons.

Waters started at Kent State, where he developed a team that made it to the national quarterfinals in 2002 -- the year after he left.

His success at Cleveland State extended off the floor as all the seniors in his program got their degrees and Cleveland State received four consecutive public recognition awards from the NCAA for academic performance.

The school said a search for Waters' replacement has begun "with an emphasis on taking the Vikings to the top of the Horizon League standings and continuing to compete for postseason tournament invitations."

Cleveland State's attendance has suffered in recent years and there have been discussions about building a smaller on-campus arena to replace the Wolstein Center.


This story has been updated to clarify that Waters is retiring rather than simply resigning.