Western Michigan has announced the hiring of Clayton Bates. The name should ring familiar to Bronco fans, as Coach Bates spent nine years as an assistant coach for the men's basketball team from 2000-2008.
"When I found out he was interested in the position it was one thing," said Coach Steve Hawkins.
"We had just got done with filling the other position, so I had gone through a round of interviews with a number of people already. But the focus was on trying to get James (Holland) in there so he could work with the guys for the 10 days of practice leading up to Europe."
"But when Rick left, we knew there was no way we could get that done. I told everybody that was interested that my sole basketball focus was on preparing our team for the ten days of practice and Europe, and then I would worry about hiring a coach in my spare moments," explained Hawkins.
"In the ten days of practice, as well as the trip to Europe, I knew it would come to me in terms of what it was that I felt like I was missing. And some of the big things that was missing was experience, familiarity, and the huge third one was loyalty."
"And with Clayton, there's great familiarity. He knows me, he knows the system, he knows how we work, and what kind of kids we want to bring in. That was a big part of it."
"Not just somebody that knows me, but knows everything about the university. Knows the City, knows our system, knows that if somebody is interested in majoring in business, what professor we'd take him to see. There's a lot of little things that I don't have to worry about with Coach Bates that made it an easier decision."
"He's a guy whose quality of work has proven itself time and again in recruiting and coaching the positions that he's coached, so he's a guy that I'd hire 100 times out 100."
Coach Bates will arrive in town on Thursday night and start his second tenure as the men's basketball assistant coach officially on Friday.
Bates coached current assistant coach and all-time WMU leading scorer David Kool. He's also helped coach former Mid-Major All-American Joe Reitz and 2004 MAC Player of the Year Mike Williams in his previous stint, while helping the 2003-2004 Bronco team to a MAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Bates is married to former assistant WMU volleyball coach Annemarie Mernagh and has two daughters, Annelyse and Sydney.