Beilein at yesterday's Final Four sendoff. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
In what is hopefully the first of many such honors, CBSSports has bestowed John Beilein with their national coach of the year award:
Michigan's last loss was Feb. 6, two days after the Super Bowl. The Wolverines have won 13 in a row, and Beilein is going to his first Final Four since his team lost to Louisville in the 2013 title game. And they're doing it on defense -- despite Beilein's longstanding reputation as an offensive guru, this team is building its reputation on one of the nation's best defenses. That's the reason why the 65-year-old Beilein, one of the most respected coaches in the game, is CBSSports.com's Coach of the Year.
There's one more thing that makes it special that Beilein is our national coach of the year. This season of college basketball has been shadowed by the FBI scandal that broke in September. Yet here is Beilein at the end of the season, still winning despite his reputation -- among peers -- as the cleanest high-major coach in the country. To be sure, Beilein won this award because his team vastly exceeded its expectations in making a Final Four run. But it's pretty sweet, during a dark college basketball season like this one, to be able to award a coach who is respected for things other than winning. -- Reid Forgrave
Same, Reid Forgrave. Same.
Beilein, quite notably, not only accomplished this without anyone on the first- or second-team All-American list, he did it while facing two such players: OSU's Keita Bates-Diop and (grins) MSU's Miles Bridges.