Western Michigan elevates Clayton Bates to head coach

Western Michigan University has promoted Associate Head Coach Clayton Bates to the position of 14th head coach of the men's basketball team.

"I decided to change leadership of our program days before the COVID-19 crisis emerged. A comprehensive national search in this time of anxiety, despite exceedingly strong national interest in the position, just didn't sit well with me," said WMU Director of Athletics Kathy Beauregard. "Our student athletes, and the whole program, is fortunate, in this difficult time, to have a strong leadership in Clayton Bates, a 20-year veteran of the program. I know that Coach Bates will do an excellent job leading these young men during the 2020-21 season."

Beauregard went on to say, "Clayton is the best person for the job at hand. He brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience and he has a close bond with the young men on our team. They deserve this stability and clear direction for the program. At Western, we compete for a MAC Championship, and I know Coach Bates is eager to pursue that ambition."

"It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I have accepted the position of Head Coach of the Men's Basketball program and Western Michigan University. I appreciate athletics director Beauregard's trust and confidence. WMU is a special institution," Bates said. "My family and I are proud Broncos and we are excited to be part of the university in this new capacity. Success is a product of shared ownership. We will work together to represent the university in a first-class manner.

I extend a big thanks to my wife, Annemarie, and our two daughters Lyse and Sydney. They have supported by professional pursuits without question, every step of the way."

Bates' promotion comes at a time when Western Michigan has suspended new, external hires in order to comply with social distancing practices that ensure safety among the campus community. Consistent with University policy, the hire is subject to a background check and contract signature.

Bates' salary will increase from $110,000 to $120,000 per year, with an additional $100,000 for multimedia rights and speaking opportunities with a total of $220,000. Former head coach Steve Hawkins' salary was $225,000, with an additional $160,000 for multimedia rights and speaking opportunities for a total of $385,000. Bronco athletics will spend approximately $165,000 less on the head coach position in the coming season.

Assistant Coach Thomas Kelley and Basketball Operations Director Jake Bullock will be retained. Former Assistant Coach Glen Heffernan will not be retained. His contract will expire on April 30, 2020.

Western Michigan athletics

March 28, 2020

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