Gary Garner is entering his fifth season as Dakota State University men's basketball head coach. During his tenure at Dakota State, the men's basketball program has undergone a transformation from a bottom dweller to a top quality team in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball. Along the way, Garner guided his teams to back-to-back Assocaition of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Conference Postseason Tournament Champions, appearances in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament (advancing to the 'Elite Eight' in 2013) and recorded the most wins (25) in DSU men's basketball team history in 2013. Garner's teams had recorded double digits wins for four consecutive seasons for the first time in 20 years. He is 69-54 overall record during his coaching era at Dakota State and 442-353 career record.
Garner was named the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013. He recorded his 400th career collegiate win on Nov. 1, 2011 with a 79-53 win over Grace (Neb.) at DSU Fieldhouse. Dakota State produced three All-Conference players, one NAIA All-American Honorable Mention athlete and an NAIA Scholar Athlete during Garner's coaching tenure at Dakota State.
Garner's collegiate experience is primarily on the Division I and II levels. Prior to coming to Dakota State, he has served as the assistant coach for Iowa Energy, a team with the NBA Development League, for two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09). He served as head basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State University from 1997-06. From 1991-97, he led the men's team at Fort Hays State University. His 1995-96 team won the NCAA Division II Tournament, capping a perfect 34-0 season. That same year, Garner was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Garner also served stints as head coach at Drake University and Missouri Southern University. He has been an assistant at the University of Missouri and Tulsa University.
His coaching career has included multiple appearances at the NCAA Division II Tournament. His Southeast Missouri State team reached the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2000. His record of 63-2 from 1995-97 at Fort Hays State was the best among collegiate coaches.
In June 2011, Garner was inducted in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame for his successful coaching era at Fort Hays State University.
Gary and his wife Barb currently reside in Madison.
Hayden Erickson is currently a sophomore at Dakota State University. He is majoring in Exercise Science and is looking into coaching basketball when he graduates. His experience includes playing basketball for four years while attending McCook Central High School. This is his first year with the Dakota State Men’s Basketball program.
Jessica Kemp is currently a junior at Dakota state university majoring in cyber operations. Her prior experience includes 4 years as a manager for the Washington high school wrestling team and 3 years with the football program. This is her first year with a college program.