Western Michigan hires MSU assistant Dwayne Stephens as head coach

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MSU assistant coach Dwayne Stephens watches the Spartans take on Western Michigan next to Marcus Bingham Jr. on Nov. 12, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Nathan Stearns, Sports Broadcast Director

EAST LANSING, Michβ€” Michigan State associate head coach Dwayne Stephens has been hired by Western Michigan as its next head coach.

Stephens is replacing former Bronco head coach Clayton Bates, who went 13-39 at Western over a two-year span. Bates was fired on March 7. It’s the first career collegiate head coaching job for Stephens in his career.

With Stephens’ departure, Izzo is losing his most tenured assistant coach and a trusted assistant who has been with him since 2003. He was instrumental in the development of NBA Draft picks Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson, Draymond Green, Xavier Tillman, Adreian Payne, Deyonta Davis and Brendan Dawson, in addition to key contributors Nick Ward, Gavin Schilling, Matt Costello, Raymar Morgan, Goran Suton, Aaron Henry, Kenny Goins and Marcus Bingham Jr.

MSU assistant coach Dwayne Stephens watches the Spartans take on Western Michigan next to Marcus Bingham Jr. on Nov. 12, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Stephens, an excellent recruiter, was a four-year letterwinner at MSU from 1989-93 and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection as a junior after averaging 11.2 points and five rebounds a game. He joined Izzo’s staff as the Spartans’ primary frountcourt coach before the 2003-04 season after previously coaching at Marquette from 1999-2003 and Oakland from 1997-99.

The Spartans have now seen two assistant coaches leave in the past two seasons (longtime assistant coach Dane Fife was hired by new Indiana head coach Mike Woodson in 2021, but has subsequently left the university). Mike Garland also took a step back this past season to care for his son who underwent heart surgery. Fife, as well as former MSU assistant and Indiana/Georgia head coach Tom Crean, are currently available.