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Wednesday, July 22, 2015


(July is "Beilein Month" - - - originally published on 4-11-15)

Seems like we went from "Beilein Fever" to "Harbaugh Hysteria" and right back again. The new UM football coach is considered to be great - - - even better than Mark Dantonio - - - despite the fact that he hasn't actually coached, much less won, a game at Michigan. As for Beilein, he's apparently riding straight to the Hall of Fame on the strength of three losing seasons out of eight years in Ann Arbor.

So pardon me if I'm trying to figure this out, okay? As a fact-based critic, I'm wondering if these remarkably high evaluations of the Wolverine coaches are on-line or maybe a bit out-of-line.

We've compared John Beilein to Tom Izzo, and frankly, it's not that close. Sure, we know, Beilein had a good three-year-run, built on the backs of players who didn't want to be college students. He may not have realized that you can't sustain long-term success in college if you only hire pro players on two-year contracts. He should probably pay more attention to the Izzo methods.

So we matched-up Beilein to Suzy Merchant, the very successful and often overlooked women's basketball coach at Michigan State. Turns out Merchant at MSU has been better than Beilein at UM, and we proved that in this article. Let's take another step on the same path.

How have the basketball programs fared
at Michigan State and Michigan

After all, they started at the same time in their current jobs, in the 2007-2008 season. They have worked eight seasons total. We already showed that Merchant has more wins than Beilein during the same time-frame, but now we look at the combined conference records of both programs at both schools, since these two coaches were hired.

B1G Basketball Regular Season Records: 2008-2015
  1. 189-91    MICHIGAN STATE*****
  2. 186-94    OHIO STATE******
  3. 166-114   PURDUE*
  4. 155-125   WISCONSIN***
  5. 147-133   IOWA
  6. 141-139   MICHIGAN**
  7. 124-156   MINNESOTA
  8. 117-163   PENN STATE***
  9. 109-171   ILLINOIS
  10. 106-174   INDIANA
  11.   90-190  NORTHWESTERN

  • 32-4      MARYLAND (one season)**
  • 69-69    NEBRASKA (four seasons)
  • 14-22    RUTGERS (one season)
*conference championships

You can see that Michigan State has led the B1G Conference in total regular-season wins during the past eight years, the "Merchant & Beilein Eras" at MSU and UM. Michigan ranks in sixth-place, with a composite record right around .500.

John Beilein is a good coach who has
had some good seasons at Michigan.

But to herald him as the
"second coming" (after Harbaugh) is little more
than a bowl full of apple sauce.

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