Beilein chats with Steve Fisher

Submitted by snarling wolverine on February 25th, 2014 at 7:25 PM

The two seem to have a good relationship.  Fish says he's very happy to see Michigan doing well again.  I definitely have mixed feelings about him - I think his firing was warranted, but I don't think he's a bad guy, just one who couldn't keep firm enough control.…



February 25th, 2014 at 7:28 PM ^

U-M is slated to honor Fisher’s 1989 national championship team during a home game Saturday against Minnesota. Fisher led the Wolverines as head coach from 1989 to 1997, racking up a national title, two runner-up finishes, six NCAA tournament appearances and an NIT championship.

“I knew he couldn’t make it on Saturday because he has a game (San Diego State plays at Fresno State), but I just wanted to make sure he knew that if there was anyone to represent him (at Saturday’s ceremony), we’d welcome them, love to have them,” Beilein said following his Monday night radio show.

Beilein is such a great man and coach.

turd ferguson

February 25th, 2014 at 7:48 PM ^

It's interesting that this event was scheduled on a night that San Diego State has a game.  I'm sure that our athletic department knew that in advance and I think it was probably a smart move to pick a night when both teams play.  Honoring Fisher at Crisler would have been awkward - or at least put him in the awkward position where he'd have to decide whether to show up or not.

The "SDSU has a game" excuse probably works out well for everyone.

turd ferguson

February 25th, 2014 at 9:13 PM ^

Fair point.  I'm not sure whey they'd need to do a Saturday - and I see many games at Crisler this year when SDSU wasn't playing - but that's probably a rough midseason trip.  It's also probably hard to justify leaving your team in the middle of a season to be honored by a different program on the other side of the country.


February 26th, 2014 at 10:54 AM ^

honoring Fisher.  I know a lot of people still support Fish and think he had nothing to do with the Ed Martin scandal, but I think Fisher could at least be charged with negligence in overseeing the program.  There had to have been rumors floating around about Martin and he was still given way too much access to the program.


I know that coaches can't prevent 100% of the shady stuff that goes on behind the scenes, but the Martin stuff was pretty egregious.


February 25th, 2014 at 8:10 PM ^

Four theories:

1. They don't believe San Diego State should be in a conversation about great Michigan rivalries.

2. They don't appreciate blasphemous misspelling of the word "be."

3. They don't appreciate that you had tooky breath while posting.

4. To get to the other side.


February 25th, 2014 at 7:34 PM ^

Very nice to see. I can't agree more with your view of Fisher. The magnitude of the scandal was too big for him to survive here but glad to see him on his feet elsewhere. Also, the fact that Jerry Dutcher is still with him, shows what he must think of Steve. Awfully long time to be a top assistant in college basketball.

snarling wolverine

February 25th, 2014 at 7:44 PM ^

He's clearly a good coach, too.  He's had a great run at San Diego State.  In an alternate universe where Fisher puts a stop to Ed Martin before the rollover accident can ever happen, he'd probably still be on our sidelines and we'd look at him as a Bo-like legend.

Having said that, I think Beilein's an even better coach.



Bando Calrissian

February 25th, 2014 at 8:11 PM ^

The thing with Fisher, he's a great coach who really hits his potential when he's in an environment that isn't Michigan. He was too engrained in that system, and probably would never have been the head coach had the perfect storm not happened in the '89 tournament. Frieder leaves after the season, Fisher either probably goes with him or is on some other trajectory that ends with him being a head coach at a school like SDSU. There was no way Bo was keeping a Frieder guy if he had a choice about it.

At SDSU, Fisher had no pressure, no history, no baggage, just a clean slate and relatively little attention. He quietly built a winner--he didn't inherit one at its peak and then have to keep it going--at any cost.

At Michigan, he was put in the pressure cooker, with unrealistic expectations after a once-in-a-lifetime tournament run, and a booster who had already made inroads in the program. Recipe for disaster. He was overmatched, and there was only so far "Aw, shucks" Indiana charm can take you. Nice guy, great coach, wrong job.

Cake Or Death

February 25th, 2014 at 10:50 PM ^

While I completely agree that he would likely never received the role had he not gone undefeated in his first 6 games, I don't think you can say he was in the wrong place.

He was a great coach for us, on the basketball stuff, and frankly had a temperament similar to Beilein (which was refreshing after Frieder).  His "look the other way" attitide about the players being taken care of likely would have happened anywhere.


February 26th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

Does anyone outside the program have the kind of access now, under Beilein, that Martin had under Fisher and Frieder? Does Beilein have friends that hang out with the players and have free run of the locker room? And who he met whle on a visit to a prospect's home?

I don't actually know the answer to any of that but I strongly suspect you're wrong that it could have happened just as easily under any head coach.

Cake Or Death

February 26th, 2014 at 4:47 PM ^

Sorry if I wasn't clear.  I think a different head coach definitely could have set some better standards and turned the program in a cleaner direction.  (WWBD?)

What I meant was that Fisher would have been in a similar situation anywhere (UM/MSU/etc) if the environment around him was similar.  My guess is that he keeps pretty clean now based on his history.  But without that history, he just wasn't a guy who emphasizes the non-basketball part.


February 26th, 2014 at 5:33 PM ^

I guess I'm not quite clear on what you're saying. Martin wasn't just a feature of the environment. Frieder meets Martin (at Joubert's home, if memory serves) when he was recruiting Joubert, Frieder offers Joubert's coach an assistant job, Martin starts coming to Michigan games, Watson invites him to practice, gets him tickets and access to the locker room. Frieder eventually leaves (one step ahead of Bo's posse, by some accounts) and Martin begins, allegedly, cultivating a relationship with his replacement, offering him gifts.

You would have to be quite unimaginably thick not to be able to figure out what was going on, and I refuse to believe that anyone involved is that stupid. "Looking the other way" seems inadequate as a description of any of this. This isn't an out-of-control booster; this is corruption right in the heart of the program.

Bando Calrissian

February 26th, 2014 at 2:58 PM ^

If it could have happened anywhere, why hasn't there been even a whiff of the same thing happening during Fisher's time at SDSU? Why didnt the same thing happen at Michigan State, given the fact they were in the same backyard of the Detroit/SE Michigan high school basketball scene that Michigan was? 

The key is while it could happen anywhere, it didn't to the same degree it did under Frieder, Fisher, and Ellerbe's watch in Ann Arbor. The program let in the wrong people during the 80s, and a dysfunctional athletic department let these bad apples run absolutely rampant during the 90s. Fisher covered up a lot of sins with the midwestern charm routine, when in reality he was complicit to the largest financial scandal (until Reggie Bush, IIRC) in the history of the NCAA. This was corruption and dysfunction of the highest degree, and we were lucky to get away with the sanctions we got. If they had kept digging into the 80s, there probably wouldn't be an '89 championship celebration this weekend, sorry to say.


February 26th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

I mostly agree with what you've had to say on the subject, but I wonder about the uniqueness. It happens in a lot of places--Tim Floyd is a really good parallel, with Ronald Guillory in the Martin role, with free access to the locker room and lounge areas. I was at Illinois during the Mike White/Lou Henson/Jimmy Collins era and it was pretty much impossible not to know what was going on. Most schools are lucky enough not to have law enforcement get involved, and without subpoenas there's room for some smidgeon of doubt if you're a loyal enough fan to avoid the obvious.

The "it could happen anywhere" defense is bull. You don't have to let Ed Martin into your locker room and you can tell him where to stuff his gifts when he offers them (I'm talking about the ones he allegedly offered to the coaches, not the players). You can walk away from players when you find out they're for sale; you can decide you're not going to recruit high schools where the coaches want compensation for access; you can raise an eyebrow at an assistant coach with a great record of recruiting known cesspools; you don't have to give coaching jobs to Perry Watson or Jimmy Collins and you don't have to keep them when you find out what they're up to. But Michigan's far from the only school to have chosen the low road.


February 25th, 2014 at 7:50 PM ^

During the show, Beilein told a full room of supporters at Pizza House, “I think (Fisher) was as excited as we were that we beat Michigan State (on Sunday).”

This was actually a nice, refreshing piece in a way as it is great to hear the the two coaches do chat and that Fisher still seems to follow his old program as much as he can, which is pretty cool. Despite the scandals, the sense of history in the basketball program is basically as overarching as in the football program and it is neat to see the minds behind two successful periods in Michigan basketball talking when they can. 

Bando Calrissian

February 25th, 2014 at 8:31 PM ^

Apparently you don't understand that he was a part of making that mess. Fisher was an assistant under Frieder from (IIRC) 1982. Ed Martin's links to the program went back to roughly the same period. It was well known players were all of the sudden driving around Ann Arbor in fancy cars and sporting fur-trimmed jackets under Freder's watch...


February 26th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

I don't disagree with you about the responsiblity of all the coaches at the time but the timeline, as it respects Fisher, is a bit of a coincidence. Martin's relationship with Perry Watson predated either's relationship with Michigan and his initial access to the program was through Watson.

Bando Calrissian

February 26th, 2014 at 2:52 PM ^

Oh, no, I'm not saying Fisher brought Martin into the mix in the 80s--far from it. Of course, the Martin link is through Perry Watson/Southwestern/the general Detroit basketball scene, which in turn links to Michigan through Bill Frieder's maniacal (if not unhealthy) attitude about recruiting. Uncle Ed was the guy for Detroit high school talent, and just so happened to favor Michigan, even if Southwestern guys didn't end up in Ann Arbor in between Joubert and Jalen. The point is that Fisher was no stranger to Martin and his access to the program during the Frieder years.

Wolverine Devotee

February 25th, 2014 at 8:00 PM ^

The universe would explode if Fisher ever came back to Crisler. Would just be an amazing sight to see.

Very cool the 1989 team will be honored. You know, the team that won a national championship. The team that doesn't have a player who publicly pleads and begs for attention about what happened over 20 years ago.

The university comes to them. Speaks volumes.

It's very nice though seeing the severed ties being mended with past coaches and players from said-eras.


February 25th, 2014 at 8:45 PM ^

People just have to let it go and move on with their lives. Not only was that stuff 20+ years ago, but we're in a great position right now as a program. Let's grow up and keep it moving.


February 25th, 2014 at 9:22 PM ^

It's interesting that though both we and SDSU are currently successful, we do it in opposite ways. They're all about having great athletes who defend and score inside, but none of them can shoot worth a damn. That's pretty much a mirror of most of Beilein's tenure here. 


February 25th, 2014 at 9:29 PM ^

To hell with Steve Fisher. He was head coach, and it happened under his watch. It was his responsibility. Remember Jim Tressel and what everyone on this board had to say about him? Now let's multiply that by around ten thousand. I'm pissed every time I see him here in San Diego.

And don't try and play the history card on me. I was there during those years and was running around the streets with everyone else when we won those tournament games. Of course, none of us knew at the time that our team payroll was higher than that of the Pistons.

Now that I have vented, let the flaming commence . . . 


February 26th, 2014 at 11:07 AM ^

He is accountabile for his actions, just like anyone else. I doubt Jim Tressel intentionally tried to ruin the OSU football prgram either, but I have a hard tiime believing that you and all of the other Fisher apoligists were so forgiving toward him.

He is the only one who never paid any price whatesoever for the Fab 5 scandal. He brought discgrace to the school that is only now clearing.

As far as giving it a rest, it isn't like I ever bring this matter up. But if he is going to be mentioned as part of the program again, I will feel free to speak my mind, If you don't like that, give that a rest.

I'd be see it as perfectly appropriate if he were given a lifetime ban from the school. You know, the same school that disassociated itself with the players involved, and took down their banners, and removed all pictures of them from the university.

And spare me the personal "you're just an angry person" attacks. They don't strengthen your argument.