Beilein Ranked #9 Best Coach by ESPN

Submitted by MLaw06 on June 24th, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Beilein has been ranked as the 9th best college basketball coach by ESPN.  There is a full page story giving background info about Beilein (which, we Michigan fans are already well aware and fond of) and which also discusses the recent string of continued success.  Hail to Beilein!


The meaty part is below:

Then the breakthrough came. In 2011-12, Beilein inserted a little-known point guard named Trey Burke into his starting lineup. Burke had played with Jared Sullinger at his Columbus, Ohio, high school, so he got plenty of recruiting looks. When he signed with Michigan, he ranked outside the top 100 players in the country.

Burke was brilliant from the start of his freshman year. In 2012-13, he was even better, and at that point he was surrounded by the kind of talent Beilein had never coached before -- a top-10 center in Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson's and Tim Hardaway's highly touted progeny, a sweet-shooting and joyously cocky 6-6 Canadian (Nik Stauskas). Beilein's system had never been as rigid as the popular impression; it just looked that way because it was different. But last season, Beilein adapted brilliantly. Isolations, pick-and-rolls, simple stuff -- the stuff you do when your team is better than the opponent -- joined forces with the system you use when you have ground to make up. The result was a few plays shy of a national title.

Michigan wasn't supposed to be as good this past season. Not before the season, after Burke and Hardaway had left for the NBA. Not during the season, when McGary, who could have done the same, was hobbled and then sidelined by back surgery. But Michigan was so, so good: The Wolverines ranked No. 1 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. Stauskas was unleashed onto a role -- angle-exploiting pull-up combo sharpshooter -- that Beilein practically invented just for him. But for Aaron Harrison's repeat buzzer-beater, Michigan might have been back in the Final Four again.

It took Beilein a lifetime to get to where he is now: indubitably successful, at the head of a well-funded high-major program, in charge of a tenacious group of assistant coaches and recruiters. And now, finally, the rest of us are getting to see just how good he really is.

And the best line is:

It's a strange thing to say about a 61-year-old man, but it feels like his career has only just begun.



June 24th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

but he's really only been in the company of truly elite coaches for a few seasons. Yeah, he had some nice WVU teams but they were never elite. Michigan has been 'elite' for probably just two seasons. Give it another five years of similar performances and he'll find himself comfortably in the top 5


June 24th, 2014 at 1:29 PM ^

If a more long term look at his career is what this list was going for, wouldn't Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim and Mark Few be higher up on that list then?  This list can't make up it's mind.  It clearly isn't looking at the long term accomplishments because some of the college coaching greats didn't even break the the top 10.  It's not looking at the short term, because the winner of more NCAA tourney games in the past 2 seasons, with 2 BIG championships in the past 3 years with a national runner up under his belt is only #9.  ESPN (lack of) logic strikes again!


June 24th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

I guess these rankings are supposed to be based on the coaches' current performance (and not their entire career).  That said, how can Izzo be ahead of Beilein?  His career is littered with good performances, but his teams of late have underperformed.


June 24th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

it colored by a coach's full history.  Most pundits will say that Izzo is a top 5 coach becuase he has 6 final fours and an NC.  Same with Coach K, Calipari, Pitino, Billy Donnovan, etc. 

I am a little surprised that Bo Ryan is ahead of JB, but I guess he has had a longer period of success.

oriental andrew

June 24th, 2014 at 12:41 PM ^

Who has the better resume over the last 3 seasons? 2014 result (Coaches rank, 247 Recruiting Rank)

  • Final Four (4, 108), Sweet 16 (22, 45), 2nd round (12, 45)
  • Elite 8 (6, 28), National Championship game (2, 11), 1st round (22, 7)
  • Elite 8 (8, 50), Sweet 16 (13, 74), Sweet 16 (7, 12)

Shows that Michigan has been the best recruiting team  over the past 3 seasons by far, while msu has been most consistent in terms of final ranking.  Michigan has clearly been the class of the conference over the past 2 seasons, though, in terms of recruiting and final ranking.  

I'd be surprised if Ryan and Izzo are not 7-8 in either order.  Any higher and, well, I just don't know what to tell you.  

Ahead of Beilein must be Coach K, Calipari, Pitino, Donovan, Self, and Gregg Marshall of Wichita State.  Don't know the order, though.


June 24th, 2014 at 12:24 PM ^

We think he's better, but I don't think anyone is surprised by this.  These sort of things are generally cumulative.  It's the reason why people were still talking about Paterno and Bowden as being the best coaches in the game years after anyone that was following closely realized that they were shells of their former selves.  Then again, I'm not sure anyone that is going to pop up in the final eight names is as washed up as those guys were.


June 24th, 2014 at 12:57 PM ^

ranked above him that's as creative? Beilein has been stereotyped incorrectly, from zone defense to Princeton offense. NO. Beilein is an incredibly creative coach when it comes to assessing his opponent and his own roster's strength. He's also confident enough to know that a 3* kid of character, smarts and passion for the game can be a better get than a higher ranked kid who doesn't grade out well on his full list of qualities.

Avon Barksdale

June 24th, 2014 at 2:15 PM ^

There is the issue with society today. ESPN is going to rank Beilein #9, and they will rank Calipari in the top two. So a guy who recruits on potential and develops finishes seven spots below a guy who has had every Final Four appearance stripped from him after he leaves a place due to some sort of misconduct.

Not that these polls truly matter, but yay, let's celebrate a guy who bought Marcus Camby, Derrick Rose, and other Kentuckians (it will happen when he leaves), and toss a guy who's always done things the right way down to the bottom of the top 10.



June 24th, 2014 at 2:51 PM ^

Look who is missing from the list and will be put ahead of Beilein...

Tom Izzo

Bo Ryan

Tom Crean

Personally, I don't think Crean belongs in the top 50, but if Pitino's kid gets in at #49 then Crean has to be on the list.

We know what we have in Beilein - we don't need a stinkin' ESPN list to tell us!


June 24th, 2014 at 3:29 PM ^

I would be curious as to whomever the 8 named in front of him would have had the same success taking over the Michigan program Belein inherited...and be named as leader of the ethics comittee.


June 24th, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

You'd have a good point and whatnot, but how many coaches could have coached a team with injuries?  None.  Not one.  Izzo didn't forfeit all his games like every other coach in America.  He played those games.  He played those games, didn't offer any excuses and kept a stiff upper lip.  He's a hero. A patriot.  A martyr.  A wee leprechaun.  An idol.


June 24th, 2014 at 5:04 PM ^

Top 3 in no order

  • Pitino
  • Coach K
  • Donovan

Next 2:

  • Roy Williams (gets tons of talent but at least has won the big one)
  • Calipari (again, dirty, gets talent, but gets results)

Next group

  • Izzo
  • Matta
  • Beilein
  • Boeheim

Matta has done very good things with Ohio - they were not known for basketball prowess before he got there, certainly not at this level.  Boeheim had Carmelo for his big win but long term excellence and Izzo similar to Boeheim.

Coach B has been great for us but it's been a 4-5 year things; he had 2 nice runs with WVU and I wouldn't take any coach outside of maybe Donovan and Coach K for our particular program, but everyone else ahead of him has longer term accomplishments.   He is a perfect fit for us.

I'd put Fisher, Few, Ryan, and Sean Miller (AZ) in the next group.  Ollie and Hoiberg need a few more years but would be just outside the top 10.  I would not put Bill Self on any list inside the top 20.

So I think this rating is equitable for current accomplishments.  It would have been nice if we had found Beilein 5-7 years earlier in his career of course, I think if he had been able to do what he has done now over a 10 year period he'd be top 5.  I think Donovan is the most underrated coach in America even though he has a good reputation - his track record is sick.



June 24th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

The fact that Izzo is going to end up being one of the 8 ahead of him is kind of a joke. Mostly due to the fact this list is based off of recent success.

Oh well, though, it's ESPN and I love coach B!

Leaders And Best

June 24th, 2014 at 6:15 PM ^

I think this is where most of us predicted Beilein would be when this ESPN countdown first started.

I think the top 5 are going to be in some order:


then the next tier:

Bo Ryan
Gregg Marshall

I am a little surprised Beilein is below Gregg Marshall. Although I don't agree with it, I had a feeling he was going to be ranked below Izzo and Bo Ryan because this is ESPN.

It hurts me to write this, but the guy who is really ranked too low is Thad Matta at #20. No way he should he should be below the likes of Jay Wright, Mark Few, Fred Hoiberg, and Tony Bennett. Matta should probably be ranked higher than even Sean Miller.

Leaders And Best

June 24th, 2014 at 11:34 PM ^

This ESPN ranking is supposed to rate which coaches are running the best programs right now. That includes regular season and postseason wins, recruiting, player development, X & Os...the whole package. I don't see how you couldn't have Self in the top 5. Kansas has won the Big 12 conference title an astounding 10 years in a row (and the tourney title 6 times in those 10 years). He is one of the best recruiters in the country and put a lot of kids into the NBA. He has had some flameouts and underachieved in the NCAA tournament a couple years, but Kansas hasn't been Georgetown bad in the tournament as he has still won an NCAA title in 2007 and made the champ game 2 years ago. Has Self been any worse than Izzo in the NCAA tourney the last 5-6 years?

Bill Self has won his conference regular season title 14 times in his last 17 years coaching (10 of 11 at Kansas, 2 out of 3 at Illinois, and 2 out of 3 at Tulsa). And if you want to talk career, don't forget that Bruce Weber's best years at Illinois were with Self's players the first 2 years (winning the Big Ten both years), and then the program cratered.


Perkis-Size Me

June 24th, 2014 at 7:11 PM ^

If this was a "what have you done for me lately" kind of achievement recognition, vs. what will undoubtedly be a lifetime achievement award with #1 reserved for Coach K, Beilein would EASILY be top 5. Potentially #1 or #2 behind either Pitino or Calipari.

-2 All Americans in Burke and Stauskas

-A couple plays away from a national title.

-1 Consensus NPOY

-2 BTTs in 3 years, 1 outright by 3 whole games without arguably out best player.

-1 Hail Mary 3 point shot from potential back to back trips to the Final Four.

- 2 back to back B1G POYs

-An undeniable ability to identify and develop talent to its absolute potential.

Beilein's results speak for themselves.


June 24th, 2014 at 7:21 PM ^

What annoys me the most (side note, it is dumb to get annoyed by Top X lists made a news organization) is that they peg the start of Burke's career as the point when Bielein truly found success.  This completely undersells the amazing work he did to get us back into the tourney and make us respectable enough to steal the players he is finding success with now.  


June 24th, 2014 at 8:33 PM ^

Upon closer review this ranking was for last year - in that case I would have put Beilein higher on the list.  Once Mitch went down and the team came out of the gate with some losses, many had pegged UM to be middle of pack Big 10.  We all forget that this team was supposed to be led by the 2 guys who didnt go to the NBA - GR3 and Mitch; not Nik and Caris. 

Instead it cleared the field by 3 without our prime big man and went Elite 8 and a shot away from FF.  I thought this was like the last 5-10 years or something before I looked closer. 

What did Coach K do last year to put him ahead of B for example ?  Nada. 

rob f

June 25th, 2014 at 6:02 PM ^

ESPN used to rank coaches, it all boils down to this:  few if any of us would willingly trade him for any other coach out there.