As Michigan enters day nine of its search for a new head coach, Stadium basketball insider Jeff Goodman reports that “three serious candidates” have emerged in Warde Manuel’s process: Former Fab Five star and Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard, Providence coach Ed Cooley, and current Michigan assistant coach Luke Yaklich.
Goodman went on to report that Yaklich interviewed for the position last Friday, Cooley was expected to Monday, and Manuel is set to meet with Juwan Howard on Tuesday. The hope is that the Wolverines will name a new head coach by the end of this week.
Yaklich has served on Michigan’s staff for the last two seasons and has been the scientist behind Michigan’s defensive revolution. The 43-year-old sports six years of college coaching experience, beginning as an assistant under Dan Mueller at Illinois State from 2013-2017 and serving on John Beilein’s staff the last two years. Yaklich recently interviewed for an assistant position with the University of Texas but may be waiting to see what Michigan does before he determines his next move.
Cooley is the most experienced candidate with 13 total years as a head coach. The Providence native coached at Fairfield from 2006-2011 and has coached the Friars since 2011. In the competitive Big East, Cooley has won the Big East conference tournament once (2014), but his teams have not finished higher than third place in the regular season. Cooley’s teams have reached at least 20 wins in five of his eight seasons, and made the NCAA Tournament five times, but have only made it out of the first round once, and have yet to reach the Sweet 16.
There are growing calls both inside and outside the Michigan community for Howard to get the nod for the job. The Miami Heat assistant has served on Erik Spoelstra’s staff since retiring in 2013. The Heat reached the NBA Finals during Howard’s first season on the bench but lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Former Michigan players spanning from Jake Long to Jamal Crawford, and of course, Howard’s former Fab Five teammates Jalen Rose and Chris Webber, have been voiced their support to bring the Chicago native back to Ann Arbor.
According to the timeline laid out by Goodman, Michigan very well could name its next coach before the holiday weekend. The only question now is who will be the man expected to fill the large shoes John Beilein left behind.