KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan is welcoming longtime Michigan State assistant Dwayne Stephens to lead its basketball program.

Stephens had his first news conference as the Broncos’ coach Wednesday. He thanked his family and the Michigan State coaching staff members who supported him.

He also talked about his dad, who died two years ago from COVID-19.

“(My father) is a big reason why I’m so emotional today. I wish he could be here. But he led me every day of my life, and I’ll take all those blessings and I’ll be (the) best d— leader Western Michigan’s ever seen,” he said.

The former Spartans forward was on Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo’s staff for 19 seasons, including the last decade as an associate head coach.

Clayton Bates resigned as Western Michigan’s coach last month after winning eight games in his second season.

The Broncos have made four NCAA Tournament appearances, most recently in 2014.

—News 8 contributed to this report.