Former Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein had it all in Ann Arbor. Regarded as one of the top bench bosses in college basketball, Beilein led the Wolverines to multiple championship games and numbers accolades.
He then decided to take his talents to the NBA to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. And needless to say, it’s been the exact opposite of his tenure with Michigan.
Not only are the rebuilding Cavaliers an all-around bad team, but just months into his tenure there were multiple reports of the team tuning him out; essentially that his coaching style didn’t work in the professional ranks as opposed to collegiately.
And now there’s the latest controversy surrounding his alleged comparing his players to “thugs”, which he would clarify by saying he misspoke and meant to use the word “slugs”.
Regardless of whether or not the players buy it, the damage has been done.
Beilein has proven himself in less than a year on the job that he’s not suited for the NBA. His coaching style may fit with collegiate athletes looking to take the next step, but doesn’t mesh with multimillionaire professionals who already have NBA contracts.
The fact that there wasn’t an immediate request for clarification on his comments in the film session where the word was used and that the story was leaked out through a third party could help fuel the narrative that his players simply don’t like him, and may have in fact tuned him out as the report that came out late in 2019 indicated.
While it was hoped that Beilein’s coaching experience with Michigan could help the development of young players like Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, it hasn’t been the case.
Beilein signed a five-year pact with Cleveland this summer. Don’t be surprised if he isn’t able to fulfill the next four years.
He never should have left Ann Arbor.