Of Heumann Interest: Dwayne Stephens’ ‘unbelievable’ new gig
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WILX) - A little more than a month ago, Tom Izzo lost his longtime top assistant coach, Dwayne Stephens, who got hired as the Head Basketball Coach at Western Michigan.
“24 years as a player, then an assistant, a student assistant and then 19 years as an assistant coach,” Stephens said. “25 years of my life in East Lansing.”
Dwayne Stephens’ new life in Kalamazoo has just started. The man was hired there a mere 34 days ago, tasked with turning around the fortunes of Western Michigan basketball after 19 years as Tom Izzo’s top assistant at MSU.
“You know coach would always say, ‘Wait ‘til you get your job, wait ‘til you get your job,’” Stephens told News 10. “I can kind of reflect back on those meetings and coach saying, ‘you just wait.’”
The waiting is over for Stephens. Has his own program to run now, but Spartan blood runs deep. He was on the phone with Draymond Green when News 10 arrived.
So far, so good.
“You know what? The first month has been unbelievable,” Stephens said. “Not a lot of down time, two weekends out recruiting, got a chance to work out with my guys about 4 times on the court. Recruiting, three commits so, it’s been busy, but it’s been productive. And it’s been a lot of fun.”
Fun is what Izzo tried to make it at MSU, but who’s kidding who? The fun is in winning and Western has lost 82 games in the last 4 years.
“I have always thought that Western Michigan was the best job of the mid-major schools in Michigan,” Stephens said. “When the opportunity presented itself there was no doubt in my mind that this was the place I definitely wanted to be.”
The day Stephens was introduced at Western, Izzo and his whole staff made the trip to Kalamazoo to lend their support.
“That meant the world to me,” Stephens said. “Seeing all those guys, that was part of the emotion that day. That along with the passing of my dad and him not being able to be there. A lot going on that day.”
Stephens’ family is still living in the Lansing area and will until his daughter gets out of school. He’s renting a place in Kalamazoo to reduce the commute time. He intends on eventually buying a home in the Kalamazoo area.
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