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Kent State to Retire Antonio Gates’ No. 44 on Saturday

Posted Feb, 24, 2010

NFL All-Pro helped lead the Golden Flashes to the “Elite Eight” in 2002

After Saturday, Feb. 27, jersey No. 44 will never again be worn by a Kent State University men’s basketball player when current San Diego Chargers All-Pro Antonio Gates will have his number retired and raised to the rafters of the M.A.C. Center. The ceremony is scheduled to take place following the Centennial Varsity “K” Hall of Fame recognition at halftime of the Golden Flashes’ 7 p.m. game against Miami University. 

Photo of Antonio GatesGates completed his Kent State career in 2003 by earning Honorable Mention All-American Honors from the Associated Press. Averaging 20.6 points per game, he set a school record with 640 total points as a senior. In 2001-2002, he led the Golden Flashes to a 30-6 overall record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament “Elite Eight” with wins against three top-25 opponents: No. 20 Oklahoma State (69-61), No. 8 Alabama (71-58) and No. 7 Pittsburgh (78-73). 

Teamed up with the only other men’s basketball players to have their jersey retired, Trevor Huffman, Andrew Mitchell and Demetric Shaw, Gates guided Kent State to the first MAC regular season championship in school history, posting a MAC-record 17-1 league mark in 2001-2002. The Golden Flashes also won a MAC-record 21 consecutive games, en route to another MAC record with 30 overall victories. Kent State was ranked 12th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

Following his basketball career, the San Diego Chargers signed Gates as an undrafted free agent. His accomplishments in the NFL include becoming a five-time Pro Bowl selection at tight end (2004-2008) and a three-time first team All-Pro selection (2004-2006).

Joining Gates (basketball, 2001-2003) in the 2010 KSU Varsity “K” Athletics Hall of Fame are Meagan Class (field hockey, 1997-2000), Veronique Drouin (women’s golf, 2000-2003), John Faulstick (head athletic trainer, 1980-2009), Charles Hankton (men’s track, 1991-1994), James Harrison (football, 1999-2001), Jeff Horvath (men’s swimming, 1972-1974) and Travis Miller (baseball, 1992-1994).

The 2010 Varsity “K” Athletics Hall of Fame Centennial Induction Ceremony set for Saturday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. For more information or to purchase Hall of Fame tickets, please contact Kara Warnke at 330-672-0439 or via e-mail at kwarnke@kent.edu.

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Media Contact:
Todd Vatter, tvatter1@kent.edu, 330-672-8467