According to multiple reports, Michigan State associate head coach Dwayne Stephens has accepted the head coaching position at Western Michigan.
Tom Izzo and the Michigan State men’s basketball program will have a vacancy to fill on the Spartans’ coaching staff for the 2022-2023 season.
Sources: Western Michigan is hiring Michigan State's Dwayne Stephens as its next head basketball coach.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 4, 2022
Clayton Bates stepped down as Western Michigan’s head coach in early March after going just 13-39 overall and 8-28 in Mid-American Conference play during his two seasons at the helm. The Broncos finished the 2021-2022 season with a mark of just 8-23 overall, while going 4-16 in conference play.
Stephens, who played at Michigan State from the 1989-1990 season through the 1992-1993 season under head coach Jud Heathcote, has been part of Izzo’s staff since the 2003-2004 campaign. He served on MSU’s staff for 19 total seasons, and spent the last 10 years with the associate head coach title.
While at Michigan State, Stephens’ main responsibilities included player development, scouting, putting together defensive game plans and recruiting. He focused on coaching up the big men in MSU’s front-court, and would also assist with player rotations in games, among other tasks.
Prior to Michigan State, Stephens was an assistant coach at Marquette from 1999 through 2003, helping lead Dwyane Wade and the Golden Eagles to a Final Four appearance in 2003. At Marquette, Stephens coached under former Michigan State assistant Tom Crean.
Before Marquette, Stephens spent the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons as an assistant coach at Oakland University, working under Greg Kampe.
With Michigan State, Stephens has coached in 19-straight NCAA Tournaments (he has coached in 20-straight NCAA Tournaments going back to Marquette). He has also coached in six total Final Fours: 2003 with Marquette, and 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2019 with Michigan State.
Stephens is also known for his recruiting prowess. He has coached a few All-Americans and several All-Conference players while at Michigan State. Stephens has also worked closely with many MSU players who were selected in the NBA Draft, such as Draymond Green, Xavier Tillman Sr., Adreian Payne, Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and others.
Stephens also helped guide Michigan State to six regular season Big Ten Championships and four Big Ten Tournament titles.
Later on Monday, Western Michigan officially announced Stephens as its head men’s basketball coach.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to lead Western Michigan basketball,” Stephens said, via wmubroncos.com. “My family and I would like to thank President (Edward) Montgomery and Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae for giving us this opportunity.
I’ve spent nearly 20 years at Michigan State, working under a Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo. Saying thanks to him for what I’ve learned and for our friendship isn’t enough. I will carry all of those lessons with me to Western Michigan, which I think is a perfect place for me as a head coach.
I consider myself a blue-collar coach, who is a grinder and I will work tirelessly to make Western Michigan one of the best in the Mid-American Conference and take the program to new heights. I will expect my staff and our student-athletes to carry the same work ethic and dedication, both on and off the floor, into making our school and the Kalamazoo community proud of our program.
From the first time I met with Dan, I could feel the energy and excitement he has for Western Michigan and I love the vision he has, not only for our men’s basketball program, but for athletics at WMU. I’m so very happy for this opportunity and can’t wait to get started!”
Izzo had this to say regarding Stephens:
“To say that I’m happy for Dwayne to get the opportunity to be a head coach and run the program at Western Michigan would be a vast understatement. Dwayne has been more than ready to run his own program for a long time and I think Western Michigan is getting an all-star. Dwayne is a terrific basketball coach and a great person who will be a tremendous leader for their program.”
The full quote from Izzo can be read from the image in the below tweet.
"Dwayne has been more than ready to run his own program for a long time and I think Western Michigan is getting an all-star. Dwayne is a terrific basketball coach and a great person who will be a tremendous leader for their program." pic.twitter.com/a0nbzBXNNg— Michigan State Men's Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) April 4, 2022