Western Michigan named Clayton Bates its head men's basketball coach, canceling a national search and staying within its program.
Formerly the Broncos' associate head coach, Bates replaces Steve Hawkins, whose contract wasn't extended after 17 seasons. Bates joined the Broncos staff in 2000, and twice stepped away from the school before returning. In all, he has spent 15 seasons on the Western Michigan bench.
In a statement released late Saturday, athletic director Kathy Beauregard conceded the coronavirus pandemic impacted her search.
"I decided to change leadership of our program days before the COVID-19 crisis emerged," she said. "A comprehensive national search in this time of anxiety, despite exceedingly strong national interest in the position, just didn't sit well with me."
Western Michigan has suspended external hires amid the coronavirus threat, the statement said.
"Clayton is the best person for the job at hand," Beauregard said. "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."
This is the first head coaching job for Bates, who will earn $220,000 a year compared to Hawkins' $385,000. He previously was an assistant coach at Jacksonville and Wright State. He played collegiately at Florida from 1992-96.
The Broncos finished the 2019-20 season with a 13-19 overall record, 6-12 in Mid-American Conference play.
--Field Level Media