With John Beilein gone, where does Michigan basketball go next?


The day all Michigan basketball fans have been dreading for the past couple of years has officially arrived. As of this morning, the now former Michigan basketball coach John Beilein has been named the new head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Beilein leaves the University of Michigan as the winningest coach in program history, winning 278 games over his twelve-year span. Throughout his tenure, the Wolverines made the NCAA tournament nine times and the Final Four twice. He won the Big Ten Regular Season Championship twice and the Big Ten Tournament twice. Because of him, the Michigan job is now a top-10 coaching position, and Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel needs to make the right choice with the new hire in order to keep the program where it’s at.

The Job Description: This job could not be any more different than what it was 12 years ago when Beilein took the job. John Beilein is the most successful coach in Michigan Basketball history, and it is not even up for debate. When Beilein took the job, making the NCAA tournament was overachieving, but 9 NCAA tournament appearances later, it is the expectation. 2 Final Fours, 5 Sweet Sixteens, 2 regular season and Big Ten Tournament championships have turned Michigan into easily a top 10 job.

Sam’s prediction: Billy Donovan. Although I don’t see Michigan hiring either Brad Stevens or Chris Beard, I think they go with the next best thing in Donovan. If Nate Oats, the new head coach of Alabama, had not been recently hired in Tuscaloosa, I think he would be the guy. And maybe he still will be, but it is hard to see him leaving a job that he’s been at for a little over a month. Donovan could potentially be fired by the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA, but even if he isn’t, I still see him leaving the NBA for the Michigan job. He has one of the toughest jobs in professional basketball, and his best days in OKC are behind him. Pair that with the fact that he’s already been a successful college coach, and I think it’s a match made in heaven. One thing that could have a coach shy away from taking this job is that basketball plays second fiddle to football at Michigan, but Donovan dealt with the same thing at Florida. While at Florida, Donovan went to 4 Final Fours and won 2 National Championships. He would be a home run hire for the Wolverines.

Matthew’s Prediction: While I do think Donovan would be a very good hire and could definitely see it happening, I am hoping for Brad Stevens. Now that Michigan is a top-tier job, I expect the Wolverines to make a top-tier hire. The current head coach of the Boston Celtics has struggled to deal with the drama in the Boston locker room, and quite frankly, the Celtics have been very underwhelming. The very passionate fan base in Boston is becoming very unsettled with the team, and some fans are even calling for Stevens to be fired. If he were to be hired at Michigan, the basketball program presents a lot less pressure on the head coach than it would in Boston, with many Wolverine fans’ focus being on the football team. Beilein made more money at Michigan than Stevens did in Boston last year, so money will not be an issue when negotiating this contract if it happens. The 42-year-old came from the college ranks before coaching for Boston, so a return to college makes sense. Stevens brought a mid-major program in Butler to the Final Four twice in his six-year tenure with the Bulldogs, even making it to the National Championship game. This would be a huge hire for Michigan, and I think it’s definitely in the realm of possibility for Manuel to secure him for the job.

Other names to look out for:

Mike Brey- Notre Dame

Chris Collins- Northwestern

Bobby Hurley- Arizona State

Mike White- Florida

Saddie Washington, Luke Yaklich-  Assistants at Michigan under Beilein

Porter Moser- Loyola Chicago

Lavall Jordan- Butler

Thad Matta- former Ohio State head coach

Juwan Howard – Miami Heat assistant coach and member of the Fab 5