After spending 19 seasons at Michigan State as an assistant coach, including the past 10 as associate head coach, Dwayne Stephens is leaving his alma mater to assume the head coach role at Western Michigan University. Stephens will become the 15th head coach of the Broncos program.
A native of Ferndale, Michigan, Stephens earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State in 1993, and was a four year letter winner at Michigan State from 1989-1993.
Stephens began his coaching career as an assistant at Oakland in 1997 where he spent two seasons as Oakland transitioned to Division I competition and later spent four seasons on Tom Crean’s staff at Marquette. At age 50, Stephens has coached in 20 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 2003 Final Four with Marquette and the 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2019 Final Fours with Michigan State.
At Michigan State, Stephens also helped guide the Spartans to six Big Ten championships and four Big Ten tournament titles. He was a large part of MSU’s player development, scouting, and recruiting efforts. He has worked closely with 10 Spartans selected in the last 10 NBA drafts, primarily focusing on big men in his coaching roles, however.
The search by Western Michigan quickly seemed to narrow on two candidates, Dwayne Stephens and Saddi Washington of Michigan. Washington is also a Western Michigan alumnus, but pulled his name from consideration earlier in the search. Western Michigan decided on Stephens after a second round interview in New Orleans with him over the weekend.
Stephens departure leaves a job opening to be filled by head coach Tom Izzo for the second time in the last two years. Izzo had to replace Dane Fife after he left for Indiana last season. The Hoosier alumnus, Fife was let go after this season despite having another year on his contract.