One year ago, Michigan head coach John Beilein interviewed with the Detroit Pistons about the franchise’s head coaching vacancy but, ultimately, the veteran tactician elected to stay put in Ann Arbor. This year, however, the Wolverines reportedly weren’t as lucky this time around.
On Monday morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN brought word that Beilein has agreed to leave Michigan in favor of a five-year contract as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wojnarowski notes that the two sides discussed the move over the weekend, with the deal ultimately coming together on Sunday before Beilein informed Michigan on Monday morning. Given the fact that there was no “buzz” concerning this potential move, Beilein’s decision drops as something of a stunner, with his perch as one of the best coaches in college basketball and his previous resistance to a professional jump. With that said, further details will arrive in the near future, and it might be safe to assume that the Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert paid handsomely to acquire the head coach they desired.
In nearly 900 games as a Division 1 coach, Beilein produced a .637 winning percentage, achieving success at Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia before leading the Michigan program to renewed heights. His final two seasons in Ann Arbor resulted in 30 or more wins, with the 2017-18 team reaching the National Championship game before succumbing to Villanova.
The track record of college coaches, even those at the highest of levels, translating to the NBA ranks is checkered and that has to be noted. With that said, Beilein is considered to be an elite-level tactician, particularly on the offensive end, and that could provide optimism to fans of the Cavaliers skeptical about this previously uneven path to a coaching hire. Regardless, this will be a very interesting experiment and, suddenly, Michigan will be looking for a new leader of their men’s basketball program.