Gary Garner

Gary Garner (born September 12, 1943)

Teams coached: Missouri Southern State Lions, Drake Bulldogs, Fort Hays State Tigers, Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, Dakota State Trojans
Missouri Southern record: 15-15 (.500)
Drake record: 95-104 (.477)
Fort Hays State record: 138-44 (.758)
Southeast Missouri State record: 126-132 (.488)
Dakota State record: 218-241 (.475)
Overall record^: 562-506 (.526)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  1  (2000)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  1  (1986)
  • Ohio Valley Regular Season Champion:  1  (2000)
  • RMAC (Div II) Regular Season Champion: (1992, 1996, 1997)
  • NSAA (NAIA) Regular Season Champion: (2015, 2016)
  • Ohio Valley Tournament Champion:  1  (2000)
  • RMAC (Div II) Tournament Champion: (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
  • NSAA (NAIA) Tournament Champion: (2015, 2016)
  • AII (NAIA) Tournament Champion: (2012, 2013)
  • NCAA Division II National Championships:  1  (1996)
  • NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances:  4  (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
  • NAIA Division II Tournament Appearances:  4  (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2009-2023 Dakota State
2007-2009 Iowa Energy (asst)
1997-2006 Southeast Missouri State
1991-1997 Fort Hays State
1988-1989 Tulsa (asst)
1981-1988 Drake
1977-1981 Missouri (asst)
1976-1977 Missouri Southern
1971-1976 Trenton JC
1965-1967 Missouri (grad. asst)

Gary Garner Facts

  • Gary Garner
  • Born September 12, 1943
  • Hometown: West Plains, Missouri
  • Alma Mater: University of Missouri (BA, 1965)
  • Was an all-state basketball player in Missouri before staying home to play for Bob Vanatta at Mizzou
    • Three-year letter winner, Garner served as team captain as a senior in 1964 and earned All-Big Eight honors
    • Stayed at Mizzou after graduation, spending two years as a graduate assistant on Vanatta‘s staff
  • Spent four years (1967-71) coaching at Kemper Military Academy (MO) and then five years (1971-76) at Trenton JC (MO)
  • After one year as head coach at D-III Missouri Southern, Garner returned to his alma mater to be an assistant under Norm Stewart
    • In his four years on the staff, the Tigers won two Big Eight titles and went to three NCAA Tournaments
  • Hired in 1981 to be the head coach at Drake, leading the Bulldogs for the next seven seasons
    • Went 95-104 overall, finishing above .500 twice including the 1985-86 season in which the team earned a spot in the NIT
    • After missing the postseason in 1987, the school fired Garner
  • Spent the 1988-89 season on the staff at Tulsa as an assistant coach under J. D. Barnett
  • Moved to the D-II ranks in 1991, becoming the head coach at Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas
    • Led the Tigers for six seasons, going 138-44 overall and winning three RMAC titles
    • His 1995-96 squad went a perfect 34-0 and won the NCAA D-II National Championship
    • Named RMAC COY three times and in 2011 was inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame
  • Garner’s success at Fort Hays caught the attention of Southeast Missouri State, who hired him as head coach in 1997
    • Was 126-132 over nine seasons at the helm, winning 20+ games in two of his first three years
    • Won the Ohio Valley title and Ohio Valley Tournament in 2000 to earn the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament bid
    • Finished below .500 in four of his last five seasons, including a 7-20 record in 2005-06 that led to his firing
  • Took one year off from coaching then spent two seasons as an assistant under Nick Nurse with the Iowa Energy (now Wolves)
  • In 2009, Garner became the head coach of the NAIA D-II Dakota State Trojans in Madison, SD
    • Went 203-226 in fourteen seasons, reaching four NAIA Tournaments and winning two conference titles; retired in 2023
  • Along with his wife, Barbara, has two sons, Matt and Jon

Gary Garner Coaching Tree


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III and NAIA levels only