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WMU promotes assistant Bates to head basketball coach

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan promoted Clayton Bates to be its basketball coach. WMU's athletic director says the coronavirus crisis impacted the school's search. Bates was previously an associate head coach for WMU. He replaces Steve Hawkins, whose tenure ended this month after 17 seasons. Athletic director Kathy Beauregard said she decided to change leadership of the program days before the COVID-19 crisis emerged, and a comprehensive national search right now didn't sit well with her. WMU says it has suspended new, external hires to comply with social distancing practices, and the school says it will save about $165,000 on its head coach next season.

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