The Michigan Wolverines hired former Fab Member and Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard on a 5 year deal worth $2 million per year. It seems like it came down between him and Providence coach Ed Cooley (who also got a raise and extension from this). No other names were really put out there as being interviewed by the Wolverines, although I’m sure they explored some other options.
So this is an interesting hire. John Beilein turned Michigan into one of the top tier jobs in the country. Michigan is unique in that its known as a “football school” but the basketball team has been much more successful since Beilein has been coaching. That creates an atmosphere where the pressure isn’t on the basketball team to achieve greatness like the football team. The football story-lines will always take precedent over basketball. Beilein though, was slowly changing that.
So in reality Michigan could have had their pick of coaches, yet it seems they went with Ed Cooley and Juwan Howard as their top two choices. Ed Cooley would have been a great hire for Michigan, what he’s done at Providence is remarkable and he’s a great recruiter. The resources at Michigan for him would have only made his job easier and made him better. Somehow I get the feeling he was using this to just get more money from Providence.
I don’t want to say settled because that word can be taken in a negative way, but Michigan settled on Juwan Howard. Howard has ZERO head coaching experience, and ZERO recruiting experience. For one, I am not concerned at all about his recruiting. I think Howard is going to get some big names to come to Michigan and Jalen Rose, another former member of the Fab Five, noted this as well.
“The one thing he did not do, and it was a different style of recruiting, is recruit McDonald’s All-Americans,” Rose said. “In his entire tenure there, we had a grand total of zero get recruited to the University of Michigan.”Jalen Rose on recruiting from the South Florida Sun Sentinel
First of all, I’m not sure how this is a bad thing? Michigan has been to two National Championship since 2013 under Beilein and have put numerous guys in the NBA. Beilein didn’t need two or three five star recruits to get to the top. Since 2013 guess what programs have been to two national championship games? Villanova. UNC. Michigan. UNC is really the only school that will get multiple McDonald’s All Americans in one recruiting class. You know who else gets multiple, schools like Duke, Kentucky, Michigan St., and Kansas. Those teams since 2013 have a combined 1 appearance in a National Championship Game. I understand McDonald’s All-Americans are nice, but I don’t get the criticism here from Rose. Honestly, it makes no sense.
So will Howard get good recruits? Yes. I believe he’ll be a great recruiter and he has the connections from being in the NBA so long for the big times players. For example, I am not sure what LeBron or Dwayne Wades kids will be like as ball players but if those two are highly rated, Michigan is going to have a great chance at getting them.
This hire to me is really a home run swing. Michigan could have gone a safer route and gotten an established college coach but instead went with the hometown kid. As Rose noted in that same article, Howard was the first of the Fab Five to sign onto Michigan, he helped recruit all those guys to Michigan, he was always professional and disciplined, and this hire will help heal any wounds still left over between the Fab Five and Michigan.
That’s a great story and all. But this isn’t about what happened in the early 90’s. This is about what happens with Michigan going forward. John Beilein built Michigan into one of the premier college basketball programs in the country, lets hope that Howard can take that final step and bring a National Championship to Ann Arbor.