The Michigan State Spartans had two assistant coaches ranked among the best Big Ten assistants according to a recent survey.
Stadium‘s basketball insider Jeff Goodman polled at least 20 coaches (made up primarily of assistants), and the results included both Dwayne Stephens and Dane Fife.
The Michigan native played for the Spartans from 1989-93 and then spent three years playing professionally in Europe. Stephens spent four years (1999-2003) as an assistant for Tom Crean at Marquette before returning to his alma mater in 2003. He’s spent the past eight seasons as Michigan State’s associate head coach.
“DJ has the unique ability to fit in with everyone. He has great people skills, but in all honesty, he is underappreciated as a ‘basketball mind.’ He is very good being my right-hand man on the bench in game situations. Will be an excellent head coach someday soon.” – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
“Dwayne has been a staple with the Michigan State basketball program for a long time as he has done an outstanding job recruiting, and is constantly in Coach Izzo’s ear during in-game play.” – Big Ten assistant
The Clarkston High (Mich.) stud was an McDonald’s All-American in 1998 and played at Indiana from 1998-2002. Fife spent two seasons as an administrative assistant for Mike Davis at IU before becoming the head coach at IPFW from 2005-11. Fife left his head spot in 2011 to join Tom Izzo’s staff in East Lansing.
“Dane is a guy I’ve known since he was in high school and I was excited when we had the chance to bring him here, and that hasn’t changed in nearly 10 years. He’s a terrific coach, a great recruiter and knows the game. He has had a great impact on our success and I appreciate the commitment he’s made.” – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
“He has a wealth of Big Ten experience as a big-time player and as a long-time assistant. His defensive mindset is clearly implemented in the toughness that has been a staple under (Tom) Izzo at Michigan State. His relationship with players is clearly one of the reasons they do such a great job in recruiting every year and remain as consistent of a program as there is in the country.” – Big Ten assistant
We’re certainly not surprised at the high praise that the staff of Michigan State basketball has received!
– – Quotes via Jeff Goodman of Stadium Link – –