KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University has announced its men’s basketball head coach Clayton Bates is stepping down.

The school will immediately start searing for a new head coach, WMU Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae said in a Monday press release.

“Coach Bates has been a stabilizing and loyal member of the Bronco basketball family over several years,” Bartholomae said in the release. “He has been a great teammate during my first two months on campus and is a genuine leader who is student-athlete centered. However, in assessing our performance in recent years, we agreed a change in leadership is necessary to elevate this program towards a level of comprehensive excellence that includes competing at the highest levels of the MAC.”

Bartholomae went on to thank Bates, wishing him and his family the best.

Bates took over the program in 2020, before spending several seasons as a Broncos staffer. In his two seasons as head coach, Bates had just eight conference wins, going 8-23 overall this season. During the 2020-21 season, Bates went 5-16, with a 4-12 conference record. 

“My most sincere appreciation to all members of the Western Michigan University Athletic Department for their efforts and hard work on behalf of the men’s basketball program. Thank you to our loyal dedicated coaching and support staff, who worked tirelessly to help the young men in our program grow and develop, both on and off the court,” Bates said in the release. “Most importantly, thank you to the student-athletes. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a member of your team.”

— News 8’s Marlee Wierda contributed to this report.