With John Beilein Out At Michigan, Wolverines Turn To Ex-Player Juwan Howard For New Head Coach
After 12 years of animated play-calling, nervous pacing, and priceless mentoring at the Crisler Center, John Beilein has punched his ticket for Cleveland, moving up to the NBA and leaving Michigan without not just a basketball coach, but a stable pillar that the university has relied on for years.
Beilein reached the Final Four with the Wolverines twice during his tenure and also captured two Big Ten championships. While Beilein claimed he never had initial thoughts of departing Michigan, the Cleveland offer stood as one too pretty to ignore. As the coach stated, “You can make a couple choices. You can leave too early or you can leave too late. You never know when to leave. This was an opportunity that has so much potential it was too difficult to pass up. It was the right thing to do.”
“I left the greatest university in the world.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) May 21, 2019
With John Teske-sized shoes to fill, Michigan reached into their back pocket, pulling out a less–likely, yet increasingly popular answer as to who will stand at the helm of their historically successful basketball program. Now carrying the clipboard for Michigan stands 46-year-old Juwan Howard, a former player at the school. He now finds himself employed by and a member of the famous “Fab Five.” The former fifth overall NBA pick in 1994 and two–time champion has been around the game for years now, playing in Miami, Portland, Washington, Denver, Houston, Dallas, and Orlando. However, the journeyman now finds himself coaching back where his story began.
To many, Howard appeared as a surprise choice to lead the Wolverines, however, others within the organization have campaigned on the new coach’s behalf for years. Other figures around the NBA who voiced their support for the decisions included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Man I’m so pumped!!! Another one! https://t.co/bgZaIXypza
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) May 22, 2019
Man WHAT!!!!?? Absolutely the right choice and i hope it becomes a done deal ASAP!! One of my favorite people I’ve ever met at the age of 16 and been around since then. 🙏🏾 https://t.co/hdmF60odnm
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 22, 2019
While Howard never stood out as a prime candidate early on during Michigan’s coaching search, the university was quick to pull the trigger on him, as failing to have a coach in the midst of recruiting season doesn’t bode well for any basketball program. Howard now brings a new identity to Michigan, as the unknown potential surrounding him, accompanied by his prominent reputation throughout the basketball universe allows Michigan to advertise itself as a now even more intriguing destination for recruits.
Although Howard remained a notable figure throughout the years due to his skills surrounding the game of basketball, his integrity plays into his character as well, as unlike most players at the colligate level, Howard stayed and graduated at Michigan instead of leaving early for the NBA. He thus fulfilled a promise he had made to his grandmother. While Howard’s inexperience clouds the Michigan basketball program’s future, Wolverines fans will have reasons to cheer again shortly if Howard’s success translates into his next stage of life effectively come November. Welcome home, coach. Ann Arbor awaits.