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Friday, July 10, 2015


(originally published on 2-19-15)

Well, the big game has come and gone, the Spartans have swept the Wolverines, and the big question in the sports media is, "How can we help John Beilein?" After all, he's done such a remarkable job this year with his excellent program.

So, less than 24 hours after his eighth double-digit loss to Tom Izzo, Beilein was named "Coach-of-the-Year" for 2016. While some critics claim that Michigan hasn't actually played any basketball games in 2016, others point out that UM is therefore still undefeated, untied, and unscored-upon. That sort of performance is the sign of great coaching.

A small group of voters in the selection process urged the committee to postpone the award until the season was actually played out, but the majority determined there were no candidates more worthy than the old apple-picker himself. (Plus, he works in the same department as Jim Harbaugh, so that counts towards any award.)

Beilein's credentials from the current season were used as a basis on which to project his 2016 performance:

  • His team's disappearance from the Top 25, where they were ranked in the preseason. UM is currently #82 in the Sagarin rankings.
  • His team's plunge in the conference standings. The Writers Poll had them finishing in fifth-place or better, while they are now in ninth-place.
  • His team's losses to rival MSU, who swept the Wolverines for the second time in the last five seasons. Beilein was highly recognized for getting his team to an overtime session in the first game, and only getting outscored by 23 points in the next 45 minutes (OT plus Game Two).

Beilein took a break from watching reruns of Trey Burke hitting his circus shot against Kansas to accept the award.

"Words can't really explain my feelings right now, mostly because I don't have anything like feelings. But if I did, they would be un-explainable, even if I could draw on a basketball clipboard while I talk to you.
"Today is a special day to me because of Jim Harbaugh. Coach Jim means a lot to me, as well as to everybody else around here. Now that Jimbo is here, my life has truly gained value and meaning. Before Harbs got here, we were all like lost souls wandering blindly through eternity. Now we can see the light. I accept him as my personal savior. 
"I dedicate this award to Lord Jim, on behalf of all those who willingly signed-up for membership in his newfound cult, as well as those who were involuntarily conscripted, like me."

Beilein is expected to rally his troops to get hot and make a run deep into February. There is no word at this time on whether his accomplishments will be celebrated in the normal UM style, by skywriting messages over rival arenas.


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1 comment:

  1. This is one of my all time favorite SM82 posts. I makes me wonder why Tom Izzo has not quit his job at MSU to become Johnny B's assistant in Ann Arbor. Oh well, I'm sure JB is the leading candidate to coach the next USA Dream Team in the Olympics. Maybe he'd invite our coach along and Tom can learn the secrets of success from from the great John Beilein.


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