Gary Garner is entering his sixth 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 84-69 overall record (.549 winning percentage) during his coaching era at Dakota State and 457-368 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.
Michael Larsen is entering his first season as the top assistant Trojan Men's Basketball Assistant Coach, his fourth overall with the Dakota State men's basketball coaching staff. He returned back to Dakota State University after a brief stint at Graceland (Iowa) as an assistant coach.
Larsen was an integral member of the DSU coaching staff that helped the Trojans capture back-to-back Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Division II Men's Basketball Conference Tournament Champions in 2012 and 2013. The Trojans qualified for the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament in 2012 and advanced to the 'Elite Eight' in 2013 for the first time since 1992.
Last season, the Trojans advanced to the first-ever North Star Athletic Association Men's Basketball Postseason Tournament's championship game. In addition, Dakota State recorded double digits wins for five straight seasons for the first time in 20 years.
Larsen, a first-team All-State High School basketball player that helped captured State Championship in Utah, played three years at Northwest Missouri State University. He was a member of two conference championship teams and qualified to NCAA Division II National Tournament twice. Larsen coached one year of high school basketball in Missouri and led the Northwest Nodaway Blue Jays to the conference finals.
Larsen came to Dakota State to play his final year of eligibility. He was named to Dakota Athletic Conference third team All-Conference. Larsen was an integral member of the DSU men's basketball team that recorded their first winning season in 20 years.
Larsen graduated from Northwest Missouri State with a major in Corporate Recreation and a minor in Coaching in July 2011. He graduated with his Master's in Education Technology at Dakota State University. Mike and his wife Kati have a daughter, Natalie and 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.