KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Dwayne Stephens has been chosen to lead Western Michigan University’s men’s basketball program.

Stephens moves to Kalamazoo from East Lansing, where he was an assistant coach under Tom Izzo for 19 seasons. He has coached teams to 20 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, six Final Four appearances, six Big Ten championships and four Big Ten Tournament titles. Before working at Michigan State, he coached in Marquette and for Oakland University. He also played for MSU from 1989 to 1993.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to lead Western Michigan basketball,” Stephens said in a statement released by WMU.

He promised to be a “grinder” and said he would work to “take the program to new heights.”

“I will expect my staff and our student-athletes to carry the same work ethic and dedication, both on and off the floor, into making our school and the Kalamazoo community proud of our program,” Stephens said.

WMU Athletics Director Dan Bartholomae praised Stephens’ reputation as a quality recruiter and his “commitment to the holistic development of our student-athletes.”

Stephens, a native of Ferndale, also thanked Izzo:

“I’ve spent nearly 20 years at Michigan State, working under a Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo. Saying thanks to him for what I’ve learned and for our friendship isn’t enough. I will carry all of those lessons with me to Western Michigan, which I think is a perfect place for me as a head coach,” he stated.

Stephens replaces Clayton Bates, who left WMU last month after two seasons.