What Happens When Belein's Gone?

Submitted by Cali's Goin' Blue on January 7th, 2019 at 3:16 PM


I was reading Brian's column today about the Indiana game and Poole and my mind kept coming back to the idea of how much I appreciate Brian's and Ace's basketball coverage and their admiration of John Belein. We all know Brian's ability to chart and explain plays in football is pretty much unmatched as far as I can tell, but what struck me was the deep down understanding of what makes Belein special as a coach(And person) in the article. 

This, I think, is what John Beilein meant last year when he said that Poole was a strange player for him to coach. His career has been built by taking limited athletes and drilling them on the basics until they're the kind of regimented outfit that never finishes outside the top 10 in turnover rate. There's a certain mechanical aspect to what Michigan does. This is completely, obviously fine. But with limited exceptions its the system that makes the players go. These days NBA evaluations of Michigan players come with Beilein-is-too-good-at-systems disclaimers.

I don't need to go into the nitty-gritty here, but also want to hammer home the point that Belein isn't a great coach because he hammers home the basics. He isn't a great coach because he finds under-recruited kids who turn into NBA prospects within a few years(Caris, Nik, Trey, DJ Wilson, GR3, and of course Poole all have left/will leave as players drafted much higher than their recruiting ranking would suggest((I'm sure I'm missing a few))). He is a great coach because of the combination of those things, his system, and his ability to trust his best players to be the best version of themselves.

I remember Burke his freshman year getting pulled out of games for messing up sets on consecutive posessions and me being mad at Belein. I'm sure it happened last year with Poole, and I'm sure it happened with Darius Morris before both of them. Belein is a structured man with a vision and it has made him a special coach. But that hasn't defined his teams. He let's his players define the team. And once they gain his trust, he lets them be the best version of themselves. 

Which brings me to the sad part of this post. What happens when he is gone? It makes me sad to think that we won't have tags referring to Belein finding a 2-star recruit and turning them into MAAR or Stu Douglas or Spike Albrecht. It makes me even sadder(?) that we probably won't have quotes from Brian like the one above. 

There are only so many(read: none) coaches like John Belein. Ones who recruit under-the-radar prospects who blow up. Ones who recruit high character kids with talent and turn them into fire breathing dragons. Ones who run into the MF'ing locker room as a mid 60's y/o dude with a super soaker and all his players get stoked as hell. Ones who run an almost flawless offensive system who also bend that system to fit their personnel and let their players have "an overdose of swag". Belein will always be a "one-and-only" coach and person, and we should be grateful for what we have. 

I meant to throw out a few options at the end of this post and maybe ask whether you guys thought we could find someone like him after he retires here, but the tone of this post changed as I started writing and don't think that that is appropriate. 

I tried keeping this concise and not emotional, but I couldn't. 



M Ascending

January 8th, 2019 at 8:19 AM ^

I totally agree with the criticism of this thread.  Coach B just had heart surgery and appears to be in excellent health.   No need to worry about what may happen five years down the line.  But, just to let you in on the future, when Coach B retires, Earth will be swallowed by a black hole, thereby eliminating the problem of whom to hire.   (Not satire, this will, in fact, happen.)


January 7th, 2019 at 4:55 PM ^

let's see my grandma just died so let's dwell on the potential imminent deaths of both my parents.  That should make me feel better.

Jeesh.  Can we mourn our current loss and not spiral into despair about the future? Thanks.


January 7th, 2019 at 3:19 PM ^

Isn't it bad enough around UM right now, with Mattison giving football a good ol' fashioned ass fucking?  But no.  You have to post this shit.

Lets worry about Beilein leaving when Beilein is close to leaving.

Would you mind putting up the post for us to neg you into oblivion, or are you just going to leave this here and not come back?

Cali's Goin' Blue

January 7th, 2019 at 3:36 PM ^


The Mattison news wasn't up when I started writing this. Terrible timing and I'm sorry. Neg me to oblivion if you so choose, I probably deserve it. 

Obviously the subject line doesn't reflect the actual post considering what just happened with Mattison. Would love for Belein to be the next Bill Snyder and coach here into his 100's, and meant this more of an appreciation post than anything. 

Stupid, Stupid Cali's Goin' Blue!

Cali's Goin' Blue

January 7th, 2019 at 4:12 PM ^

Beilein. It's simple enough for a simpleton like me, once I get corrected. My bad. It's weird to post about an incorrect spelling of a name when there were no other mistakes in the post. I definitely should've gotten that right since I wrote a board post about him, but we live in a world where we attack people on simple mistakes rather than the actual content of their post. 


January 7th, 2019 at 4:11 PM ^

How about showing some respect by starting with the correct spelling of our coach's last name. My God, you write a complete thread on a coach who is the winningest in Michigan history and you don't even have the courtesy to spell check the man's name. Remember this simple rule, in spelling Beilein, it's always two vowels and they go in alphabetic order, e before i. This is not hard to remember.

Cali's Goin' Blue

January 7th, 2019 at 4:24 PM ^

Ya. You show someone respect by spelling their name right!

 Disrespect would be attacking someone on the internet for a simple mistake. I am so glad you are on the internet and showing people how to show respect!

I'm also glad my parents taught me to be thoughtful and understanding of other's mistakes. It wasn't that hard to remember. 


January 7th, 2019 at 3:22 PM ^

The basketball program is in great shape. It'll be a very attractive destination for any coach. And if it's in the relatively near future, Yaklich is a great promotion from within IMO. Not a bit worried right now. 


January 7th, 2019 at 3:59 PM ^

People forget that WVU was a much better program in terms of recent success when Beilein made the move to Michigan.

Whenever Beilein retires (I think 5 years away at a minimum, 10 years maximum) we will get a great coach. It could be Yaklich, or some other up and coming coach. But UofM is an incredibly attractive place for any coach that isn't already at a Blue Blood.


January 7th, 2019 at 5:22 PM ^

Right.  As great a Beilein is, his defenses were pretty terrible until Yaklich showed up recently.  Yaklich fixed that IMMEDIATELY and has sustained it.  He's the real deal.  Who knows if he can coach offense, but he's obviously a smart and driven guy and I'm sure he's absorbing everything he can from Beilein about offense right now.

It's obviously hard to predict what a guy who has never been a major coach would do.  But it's clear as day the impact Yaklich has had on this program, and it's HUGE.  I'd be all for him getting a real shot at the job if he's willing to stay on for a while until JB is done.  


January 7th, 2019 at 3:23 PM ^

I don't really expect him to be there long anyways. In his third year they won the Northeast-10 tournament and he is a back to back NE-10 coach of the year. I just am curious to see what happens after Le Moyne!


January 7th, 2019 at 3:23 PM ^

Yes, Beilein is a great coach and these times are great. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. He should be here for a while.

Enjoy the moment, but don't try to hold on to it forever.