This week John Beilein shocked the Michigan Wolverines by abruptly leaving the program heading to the NBA accepting the vacant head coaching job with the Cleveland Cavilers.
John Beilein deciding to finally coach for the first time in the NBA at the age of 66, has left the Michigan Wolverines with reeling hearts. He’s the coach that put the men’s basketball program on the map. Anytime a team loses its programs winningest coach of all-time it’s a tough pill to swallow.
He was considered as one of the better coaches across the country, running a clean program — in today’s world, that is an impressive feat in itself. The Michigan Wolverines should be in the midst of their recruiting rather than trying to connect all the dots on the programs new head coach.
According to multiple sources, the Michigan Wolverines have agreed to terms with a former fab-five member Juwan Howard. Wednesday Howard signed a five-year deal with a base salary of two-million dollars per season.
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It appears pressure from his former teammates, Jalen Rose, Chirs Webber aided Howard in earning his first head coaching opportunity of his career. Howard also received wonderful endorsements from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and his mentor Erik Spoelstra.
The high praise should lead the first time bench boss to a plethora of recruits. None of us know yet if the man can be an elite head coach, but he will be an outstanding recruiter. He’s played with some of the best players to play the game. He’s been on the bench working under Spoelstra, watching, learning. He’s coached Wade, understanding how to deal with star players. He will be able to bring his experience to the Michigan Wolverines in hopes of landing top prospects. James & Wade both have kids that will be looking to commit to a college soon–just saying.
Whether you like the hire or not it was a strange path the Wolverines took before settling on Howard. Many fans think Luke Yaklich; the defensive wizard should have simply been promoted. Many think although the Wolverines didn’t hire Yaklich his name was brought up in the deal with Howard. The two sides likely decided they would keep Luke on the coaching staff as a part of the agreement. I expect Luke to have a head coaching job elsewhere soon, probably after next season.
The Wolverines also interviewed Providence’s head coach Ed Cooley. It appeared as though Cooley was the first choice, but before he was offered a deal, he signed an extension that certainly one would think included a raise to stay with Providence.
Regardless, expect the Michigan Wolverines to take a couple of steps back before they move forward. The team is losing its top three scorers from a year ago. I don’t think John Beilein is running away from anything, but he sees the writing on the wall understanding the Wolverines need another rebuild before they compete for another deep run in the tournament.
I think recruiting has taken its toll on the 66-year-old coach, it’s a tedious job traveling across the country trying to convince high school kids with plenty other offers that you can provide them with the best opportunity or last to make it to the next level.
John had never coached in the NBA; maybe it’s always been on his bucket list; we can’t blame him for that. The feeling is much sadder than resentment by Michigan Wolverines fans. They seem to understand the University’s top coach won’t be a regular in the building anymore.