Indiana and Purdue fans should be happy John Beilein is leaving Michigan to become the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but I’m not.
Beilein coached the Wolverines for 12 seasons, won four Big 10 titles, and qualified for two Final Fours. He’s unquestionably one of the five best coaches in college basketball, and had earned an extension last year that renewed each year to give him a five-year cushion.
At 66, I guess it was time for Beilein to accept this challenge, if coaching in the NBA was a bucket list item. I wish him luck, but I loved him in the Big 10.
The Big 10 has long been the best coached conference in college basketball, and I’m sure Michigan will hire someone deserving of the job, but Beilein seemed to belong there. He made Big 10 Basketball better for his presence, and he made Michigan more fun to play against.
Michigan played a unique style that allowed Beilein to succeed without recruiting the kind of talent targeted by Duke and Kentucky, but still sent many players to the NBA. It always seemed like Beilein was a step ahead – even when his roster seemed bereft of championship level talent.
Hopefully, Michigan can hire a coach equal to Beilein’s quality so beating them remains fun.