For John Beilein, the assistant coaching carousel has just started to get into its spin ten days ago, and he finds himself in a familiar place.
While the ride may not be coming to a complete stop, it very well could be slowing down to a decision.
According to Mlive.com, John Beilein has interviewed Duquesne assistant Charles Thomas, and also confirmed a phone interview between Beilein and Creighton assistant Preston Murphy, per multiple sources that talked with Mlive.
While the two rather obvious candidates are coming from within Michigan’s program, director of player personnel Chris Hunter and Le Moyne head coach Patrick Beilein, it has also been said that Alabama assistant Bob Simon has been getting some attention for the job.
Thomas met with Beilein last week and toured the facilities at Crisler Center and the Player Development Center alongside his wife, Shaunna, according to multiple sources.
The Eastern Michigan graduate spent the past seven seasons under Keith Dambrot at Akron. This would be the first season at Duquesne for Thomas, as he followed the ex-Zips head coach for the assistant spot.
Thomas grew up in Lansing and played basketball at EMU from 1987-91, before starting a 15-year playing career in the United States and abroad. That span of playing time included a 36-game stint with the Pistons in 1992.
After his basketball playing career ended, Thomas began to blossom his coaching career at Northwood University in Midland, MI. and Radford University.
Thomas had a recruiting base in Ohio where he recruited current Michigan players Xavier Simpson and Ibi Watson.
Murphy, 39, started at Nouvel Catholic Central in Saginaw before helping Rhode Island reach the 1998 Elite Eight alongside Cuttino Mobley and Tyson Wheeler.
The Saginaw native has been on Greg McDermott’s staff since 2015. In the past, he was a director of basketball operations at Boston College (2006-10), assistant coach at Rhode Island (2010-14) and assistant coach at Boston College (2014-15).
According to Mlive, Murphy conducted a phone interview with Beilein related to the assistant spot. Another source that cited Murphy’s agent, said that he did accept an increase in compensation to remain at Creighton.
Simon, 54, has been around the coaching side of basketball for 30 total years now (20 college, 10 high school). He spent the last two years on Avery's Johnson's bench at Alabama, but his contract wasn't renewed this off-season.
Simon is also a Michigan native. He grew up in the Detroit area and attended Thurston High School in Redford. Like Thomas, he is also an EMU alum and coached at Wayne State University from 1991-2000.
Before stopping at Alabama, Simon had assistant coaching positions at Toledo, Fairfield, and Providence.
As these outside hires are very intriguing and realistic options, Hunter and Patrick Beilein are still two coaches that could land the job.
Patrick Beilein, 34, is entering his third year as Division II Le Moyne College's head coach. He went 32-24 overall in his time with Le Moyne, leading the program to the NCAA Tournament last year (22-7 overall) and was named Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year. He previously worked under his father's staff at U-M in 2008-10 as a graduate assistant before bouncing from Dartmouth to Bradley to West Virginia Wesleyan to the Utah Jazz and to Le Moyne.
Hunter has been on Beilein's staff as director of player personnel in September 2014 and interviewed for one of the assistant coaching slots last summer. The 32-year-old was a four-year contributor at Michigan from 2002-06 and holds a degree from the Ross School of Business.
Due largely to the coaching vacancies this summer, Hunter and video analyst Bryan Smothers will go on the road to recruit, a U-M spokesman told sources. Both are cleared to do so in interim roles by having completed the NCAA Coaches Certification (Recruiting) Test.
Smothers, a Pontiac native, has been on the Michigan staff since 2014 under Beilein. The 28-year-old got the promotion last summer from graduate manager to video analyst.
The gaps in the Michigan coaching staff come mainly in-part to the departures of assistants Billy Donlon and Jeff Meyer.
Meyer left to join LaVall Jordan’s (also a former Michigan assistant) staff at Butler on June 20, while Donlon left for Northwestern on June 26. Donlon was only with the Wolverines for one season, while Meyer held an assistant position on Beilein’s bench for nine seasons.
This is the second straight off-season that Beilein has had to fill holes in his coaching staff in the summer due to coaches leaving for jobs elsewhere.