John Beilein is leaving for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nobody saw this coming, but it is the reality of the situation now. We will have more on the situation, but the initial question people will have is who the next coach of the Michigan Basketball program is.
Here is a quick look at candidates. I’m going to list this in terms of what seems most likely to least, but here we go.
Luke Yaklich or Saddi Washington (Michigan assistants)
Arguably the architects of the second wave of Michigan basketball’s contention window, these are logical successors if this program wants to stay the course and build on what Beilein built. Yaklich might be the more popular of the two names, but Washington took over after Beilein’s heart surgery last year and was the head man on the bench when Beilein got tossed at Penn State. Either of these two being named head coach with a hefty raise for the second man seems like it would be a safe hire.
Laval Jordan (Butler head coach)
Jordan was one of Beilein’s star pupil assistants and many thought he may be the eventual successor, but he is now coaching at his alma mater. However, it feels like this could be a possibility if both sides could come to the right arrangement.
Chris Beard (Texas Tech head coach)
Who better to call than the guy that knocked you out of the NCAA Tournament and nearly won a national title? Beard’s team was able to strike the perfect mix of an elite defense and potent-enough offense that Michigan was not quite able to achieve this year and by all accounts has built his programs the right way.
Porter Moser (Loyola-Chicago head coach)
A dark-horse candidate, but Beilein and Moser had a tremendous amount of mutual respect for one another and pulling a coach from a mid-major school seems far more likely than flashing the dollar signs at Power 5 guys and hoping they will flip. His arrow seems to be pointing upward.
Juwan Howard (Miami Heat assistant)
This is the part of the list where things start feeling increasingly more unlikely, but if a #MichiganMan were to be in the mix, Howard, one of the members of the Fab Five, is considered one of the better assistants in the NBA and has held his post with the Heat since his playing career ended in 2013.
Billy Donovan (Oklahoma City Thunder head coach)
This is where we start to get into somewhat of pipe dream territory, but Donovan would no doubt be a splash hire.
Tony Bennett (Virginia head coach)
Bennett just won the National Title and coaches a style of basketball tailor-made for the Big Ten. That would be a heck of a hire if they could get it done.
Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics head coach)
If the Celtics are done with Stevens, Michigan would have to be someone who swoops in with an offer he cannot refuse. Even if he does, you have to try if he becomes available.
Jay Wright (Villanova head coach)
The biggest white whale of them all. If you want a big swing, here is your guy. Offer the blank check and make him say no.
Rick Pitino (former Louisville head coach)
No. You don’t sully a program’s good name for someone who may tear it back down in 15 seconds. But fans will scream for him anyways for some reason.
I do think Michigan should swing big because the fallback options are honestly not all that bad if they cannot land a big fish. It all depends on Warde Manuel and what he wants to do, as this may be his defining hire to this point in his time as Athletic Director. Next year was going to be a major rebuild anyways, and now it can become the first step in a bit of a face lift for the program. Who the man steering the ship is remains to be seen, but they have enormous, and perhaps impossible, shoes to fill.
Who would you like to see Michigan target to replace Beilein? Sound off in the comments below.