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Garner becomes a member of the RMAC Hall of Fame class
July 7, 2011
Dakota State University men's basketball head coach Gary Garner was inducted in the 2011 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Hall of Fame on June 24, 2011. The hall of fame ceremony took place in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Garner coached for six seasons at Fort Hays State University from 1991-1997. In his fifth season at FHSU, he guided the Tigers to their first ever NCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship with a perfect 34-0 record. The Tigers were the second NCAA Division II Championship team to finish the season undefeated. The last NCAA team that went undefeated was the 1976 University of Indiana Hoosiers.
During Garner's coaching stint at Fort Hays State, the Tigers captured three conference championships. He was named to Sears/National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year, Molten/Division II Bulletin Coach of the Year and RMAC Coach of the Year during the 1995-96 season. Garner amassed a 138-44 record in six seasons at FHSU, a winning percentage of .758.
Under Garner's leadership, Fort Hays State made four consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II men's basketball national playoffs by winning the RMAC postseason tournament. Garner was only the second coach in school history to record four straight 20-win seasons and the third coach to attain 30-wins in a season.
Garner was a three-year varsity letter winner at the University of Missouri. In his senior year as a team captain, he averaged 15 points per game. He was named to second team All-Conference honors as the Tigers placed third in the Big Eight.
Following his playing days at Missouri, Garner stayed on from 1965-67 as the team's graduate assistant coach. He coached at Kempe Military Academy in Boonville, Mo., (1967-71) and later was the head coach and athletic director at Trenton, Mo. He left the junior college ranks to coach one year at Missouri Southern State College.
Garner returned back to Missouri to serve as an assistant under Norm Stewart. While he was on staff at Missouri, the Tigers won two Big Eight titles and advanced to NCAA Division I men's basketball postseason tournament three times.
The West Plains, Mo. native coached at Drake University for seven years. In 1986, Garner took the Bulldogs to their first postseason berth since 1981 as they participated in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). Drake complied a 19-11 record that season and only third postseason berth in 20 years. Garner was named the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1981-82. He left Drake as the school's third winningest coach of all-time with 95 victories.
Garner coached at Southeast Missouri State for nine seasons. His 1999-2000 team captured the Ohio Valley Conference postseason tournament and advanced to the NCAA Division I men's basketball national tournament, where they lost to nationally-ranked Louisiana State University (LSU) to the wire (67-64). Garner was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2000.
Garner became the head coach at Dakota State in 2009. The Trojans recorded their first winning season since 1993 with an overall record of 15-14. DSU also recorded their first consecutive seasons with double digits wins since the 1990's.
Gary and his wife Barbara reside in Madison, S.D. They have two sons - Matt (currently assistant men's basketball coach at DSU) and Jon.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director