The rumors have been flowing for several days but Wednesday evening, Michigan officially confirmed what many were already reporting: former Wolverine great Juwan Howard is the 17th coach in Michigan Men’s Basketball history.
”We have found someone with high integrity, great character and a coach who has unbelievable knowledge of the game of basketball,” said Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel. “Juwan has proven himself to be a tremendous leader, a wonderful communicator and a developer of talent. We couldn’t have asked for a better role model for the young men in our program. We are excited to welcome back a member of the family to Ann Arbor.”
Howard was the third and final candidate to interview with Manuel after Michigan assistant coach Luke Yaklich and Providence coach Ed Cooley. Miami-based outlets were reporting Howard to Michigan as a done deal as early as Tuesday evening. A former two-time All-American, Howard returns to campus after 25 years including a 19 year NBA career and six years as an assistant with the Miami Heat under head coach Erik Spoelstra and team President Pat Riley.
”I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the University of Michigan’s storied basketball program,” said Howard via press release. “I have been very fortunate to be part of a great championship organization in the Miami Heat for the last nine years -- three as a player and six as a coach. It was always going to take something incredibly special to for me to leave Miami; however, I know in my heart this is the right place and the right time.
Howard’s return as an alumnus adds significance to his decision to take the position, as well as the challenges in front of him.
”As a ‘Michigan Man’ I know the place our program has in college basketball and I embrace the chance to build onto that history and lead us to championships both in the Big Ten and national level,” said Howard. ”We will continue to develop young men on the court, in the classroom and in the community that our fan base will continue to be proud of.
Howard and Michigan agreed to a five-year deal starting at $2 million annually.
The Fab Five member and Chicago native had an accomplished NBA playing career, capped off by back-to-back championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He was named to the 1995 NBA All-Rookie Second Team and was an All-NBA Third Team and All-Star in 1996.
A two-time All-American (1993, ‘94), Howard started 97 of his 100 collegiate games missing just two games in his three seasons. A three-time All-Big Ten honoree, including a unanimous first-team selection in 1994, Howard was regarded as one of the best defensive big men in the country. In three NCAA Tournament appearances, he was named to two All-Tournament teams, at the 1993 NCAA West Regional and the 1994 NCAA Midwest Regional.
Howard closed his U-M career with 1,500 points (1,526; 15.3 ppg) and 700 rebounds (745; 7.5 rpg), one of just seven Michigan players to reach both marks, along with Rudy Tomjanovich, Bill Buntin, Roy Tarpley, Glen Rice, LaVall Blanchard and DeShawn Sims. He ranks 20th all-time in scoring and 11th in rebounding for the Wolverines.
Howard is expected to be introduced by the Wolverines sometime next week after Memorial Day.
Both Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley shared their congratulations on Howard’s hiring: