EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A former Spartan basketball player is returning to the Breslin Center – but this time, he’ll be on the sidelines – not the court.

That’s after men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo named Thomas Kelley the next assistant coach.

“It’s always been a thrill for me when I can bring a former player back to Michigan State and that’s definitely the case with Thomas coming back as an assistant on my staff,” Izzo said in a press release. “I’ve known Thomas for nearly 30 years, from recruiting him, coaching him and then having him on my staff when he started his career.”

Kelley rejoins the Spartans after spending the last four years as the assistant coach at Western Michigan University. Coincidentally, the job became available because MSU’s previous assistant coach left to take the head coaching job at Western.

Kelley, who is from Grand Rapids, played for the Spartans from 1994-99. He started playing for Izzo’s predecessor, Jud Heathcote. In his 5th year, he was part of Tom Izzo’s first Final Four team.

After playing for the Spartans, Kelley played for 15 years in Europe and the Middle East.

He also spent time as a graduate assistant for the Spartans in 2015-16.

“I always thought he’d be a terrific coach and he was able to grow and learn more during his time at Western Michigan. It’s great to have him back with his Spartan family,” Izzo said in the release.