Bates Hired As Men's Basketball Assistant
"I'm very excited to have Clayton return to our staff," said Hawkins. "When I looked at what we needed, it came down to two things, familiarity and loyalty. Those are two attributes that I know Clayton brings to the table. He's a person I would hire 100 times out of 100."
"Clayton is an experienced coach with the reputation of being a tireless worker with a high-energy personality," said Hawkins. "Those are qualities that will be important as we work with so many younger players on the team."
Bates served as an assistant coach to Billy Donlon at Wright State for the past two seasons, helping the Raiders to a 19-14 record in his first season in 2010-11. That season, the Raiders defeated UW-Green Bay in the first round of the Horizon League tournament before falling to the third-seeded Cleveland State Vikings.
Bates is no stranger to the Western Michigan program, having spent a considerable portion of his coaching career as an assistant with the Broncos. Bates' first stint at Western Michigan lasted nearly a decade, with Bates serving as an assistant coach to Rob McCullum and later Hawkins from 2001-08.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be at Western Michigan, and working again with Coach Hawkins" said Bates. "The University and Kalamazoo mean so much to my family and me, and I'm excited to begin working on molding this young group of players."
Bates played an important role in the success at WMU while establishing himself as one of the best coaches and top recruiters in the Mid-American Conference. During his first stint at Western Michigan, the Broncos posted four 20-win seasons while advancing to the 2004 NCAA Tournament and the 2003 and 2005 National Invitation Tournament. After spending the 2008-09 season away from coaching, Bates returned to the Broncos and helped Hawkins steer the team to an 18-15 record in 2009-10.
Bates was a key factor in the recruitment and development of a number of WMU's top contributors in decade, including two MAC Players of the Year (Mike Williams, 2004 and David Kool, 2010) and 2008 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-American Joe Reitz. The Broncos also had great success in the classroom under Bates' tutelage, as 11 players earned Academic All-MAC honors in his tenure, including Kool and Reitz, who each earned Academic All-American honors.
Bates played at the University of Florida under Lon Kruger and served as an administrative assistant with him at the University of Illinois in 1997 when the Illini advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After one year at Illinois, Bates returned to his native Florida as an assistant coach at Jacksonville University for the next three years. A former guard, Bates played for the Gator team that appeared in the 1994 Final Four.
Bates was the 1996 Fred Koss Memorial Award winner, which is given to the player who displays the highest levels of sportsmanship, dedication and commitment to the team and community during his career.
Bates graduated from UF with a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology (1995) and completed his master's work in sports administration (1997) at Illinois.
Bates is married to the former Annemarie Mernagh, an All-Big East volleyball player at Pittsburgh and former assistant volleyball coach at WMU. The couple has two daughters, Annelyse and Sydney.