Michigan State men's basketball finalizes coaching staff
Stability has long been the calling card for Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State.
But when associate head coach Dane Fife left this offseason for Indiana, it forced the Spartans to make some changes. Those became official Monday.
Izzo and the Spartans program announced former recruiting coordinator Doug Wojcik has been promoted to assistant coach, joining associate head coach Dwayne Stephens and assistant coach Mike Garland as Izzo’s top assistants.
But that’s not the end of the changes as plenty of familiar faces are returning to East Lansing.
Former player and assistant coach Mark Montgomery is back and takes over the role of recruiting coordinator, while Austin Thornton returns to become the video coordinator. Matt McQuaid, a captain of the 2019 Final Four team, joins the staff as the assistant director of operations. He’ll work under new director of operations Garrett Briningstool, who has served as an executive assistant to Izzo the last two years,
“I’m very excited to make the announcement for our staff for next season,” Izzo said in a statement. “This is the first time we’ve had some change in our staff in a while, but I think we have some great experience and it means even more when former players want to return to campus to be a part of building our future.
“Dwayne Stephens is one of our mainstays and will remain as our associate head coach while overseeing the entire staff and bringing together a group I am really excited to work with as we start the new season.”
Wojcik spent two seasons as an assistant at Michigan State and was part of the 2005 Final Four team. He’s been a head coach at Tulsa and College of Charleston, and returned to Michigan State in 2018. He spent the last two seasons as the Spartans’ recruiting coordinator.
"Doug has been a vital part of our success over the last three years since he returned to East Lansing,” Izzo said. “As our director of recruiting, he was the lead for us with an incoming recruiting class that is among the top in the nation. I’ve known Doug for more than 20 years and he’s one of the best basketball minds I know. It was natural for him to move into our assistant coaching position when that opened. He’s got tremendous experience, is a man of incredible character and has a work ethic that is unmatched."
Montgomery was an All-Big Ten guard in his playing days at Michigan State and served as an assistant from 2001-11 before leaving to become the head coach at Northern Illinois. During his 10 seasons on Izzo’s staff, Michigan State made 10 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and reached three Final Fours.
“When we knew we were going to have openings on the staff after last season, Monty was one of the guys I had in mind,” Izzo said. “He played here under Jud and was on my staff for 10 years when we really got things going. As a head coach for 10 years and someone who has more than 20 years of experience recruiting in college basketball, he will be a great fit for us as a recruiting coordinator."
Thornton played from 2007-12 and was part of two Final Four teams and won three Big Ten titles. He served as a graduate assistant from 2015-17.
"Austin Thornton is one of the hardest working and most humble players I have coached during my time at Michigan State,” Izzo said. “I loved having him on staff as a graduate assistant and he’s worked really hard on the high school level to get himself ready to take a college job. It’s great to have him back."
McQuaid spent two seasons playing professionally after his MSU career ended in 2019. He was part of back-to-back Big Ten title teams and was named to the All-Big Ten defensive team as a senior.
“I’m really excited to have Matt back with us and he really is excited to be on staff and start his professional career,” Izzo said. “He’ll be a great addition and someone who can relate to our players. I think this is the start of what could be a great career for Matt.”
Briningstool takes over at the operations director after David Thomas opted to pursue a career in the private sector.
A member of the 2000 national championship team, Thomas spent the last six years as the director of operations. He’ll be joining Podium Risk Management where former Spartan standout Paul Davis is a partner.
“It’s bittersweet to see DT leave, but I’m also very happy for him, Toni and his family,” Izzo said. “He’s been such a big part of our program for the last 20 years, first with a successful playing career here and being part of three Final Four teams, four Big Ten Championships, and, of course, a national championship team. Over the last six seasons, since he returned as our director of operations, he has been one of the faces for our program and someone everyone immediately recognizes and loves for the person he is. We’re really going to miss his presence around here, but know that he’ll be back and that he is, truly, forever a Spartan."
Michigan State also announced the hiring of Julian Stall, who joins the team as director of creative video after serving the last four years as part of the MSU Athletics Spartan Vision Team.