Michigan coach John Beilein was announced Friday (Feb. 28) as one of ten finalists for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year award by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Ironically, Beilein is joined on the list by a coach very familiar to Wolverine fans. The original “Michigan Man,” Steve Fisher coached the Wolverines to the 1989 national championship after then athletic director Bo Schembechler hired Fisher to coach the Wolverines in the NCAA tournament.
Schembechler was put in the predicament when coach Bill Frieder took the job at Arizona State. “A Michigan Man will coach Michigan,” Bo said, and an instant icon was formed.
Fisher was also the Michigan coach during the “Fab Five” and NCAA probation years that led Michigan to hire a coach of Beilein’s impeccable stature.
This is Beilein’s seventh season at Michigan and there has yet to be even a mention of impropriety.
And, as if its a bonus, Beilein has his team atop the Big Ten Standings (20-7, 12-3), and the Wolverines are looking for their second conference title in the last three years.
The 2011-12 squad shared the regular season crown (13-5) with arch-rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. It was Michigan’s first league title in 26 years.
We’re no. 1
Last season, Michigan surprised the basketball world by earning the No. 1 ranking on Jan. 28 then sailing through the NCAA tournament field before losing to Louisville in the national championship game.
The job Beilein’s done with this season’s team might be even better. Not only did Michigan lose Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. to the NBA, but also potential All-American Mitch McGary to back surgery eight games into the season.
Beilein, who’s also had successful stops at Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia, weathered the storm quite well, building a 12-3 conference mark going into Saturday’s (Mar. 1) game against Minnesota.
In 26 seasons of Division I basketball, Beilein has made the postseason 14 times. It’s a lock to make it number 15.
John Beilein, Michigan
Steve Fisher, San Diego State
Ton Bennett, Virginia
Larry Brown, SMU
Jim Crews, Saint Louis
Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
Billy Donovan, Florida
Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Jay Wright, Villanova♦
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer