KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Earlier in March, it was announced there will be a change in leadership of the Western Michigan men’s basketball program. Head Coach Clayton Bates, has announced he is stepping down.
“Coach Bates has been a stabilizing and loyal member of the Bronco basketball family over several years,” said WMU Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae. “He has been a great teammate during my first two months on campus and is a genuine leader who is student-athlete centered. However, in assessing our performance in recent years, we agreed a change in leadership is necessary to elevate this program towards a level of comprehensive excellence that includes competing at the highest levels of the MAC. We thank Clayton and his family and wish all the best in their future endeavors. The young men in our men’s basketball program are fantastic and we will continue to support them as we look for a new leader of our program.”
Bates was named the 14th head coach of the Bronco men’s basketball team in March of 2020, after serving as an assistant coach, and later associate head coach, prior to being named the head coach two seasons ago. The Broncos finished 5-16 overall in 2020-21, with a 4-12 Mid-American Conference record. This past season, the Broncos compiled a record of 8-23, 4-16 in the MAC.
“These past two years as the head coach of the Broncos have been a special experience for my family and me” said Bates. “My most sincere appreciation to all members of the Western Michigan University Athletic Department for their efforts and hard work on behalf of the men’s basketball program. Thank you to our loyal dedicated coaching and support staff, who worked tirelessly to help the young men in our program grow and develop, both on and off the court. Most importantly, thank you to the student-athletes. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a member of your team. We wanted every day we took the court to be the best two hours of our day. It always was for me, and I am grateful for our time together. Thank you for giving your very best. Bronco Basketball is positioned for great success in the coming years.”
“We will immediately begin a national search for the next leader of our men’s basketball program” said Bartholomae. “That candidate will share our vision of a program that centers on the development of the student-athlete, energizes the community in support of our team, and competes at a championship level. Bronco men’s basketball is uniquely situated to fulfill that vision, and I look forward to the program’s future.”
Glenn Sugiyama, Managing Partner of the DHR Global Sports Practice, will assist in the Western Michigan coaching search and is described by Forbes magazine as “one of the most influential men in college athletics”. Based out of Chicago, Sugiyama has developed one of the largest Sports Practice Groups in the world identifying and placing top coaching and administrative talent for professional, collegiate, and international sports organizations in the United States and abroad. Sugiyama is a former Division 1 college basketball coach and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bulls.
COURTESY WESTERN MICHIGAN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS