How will the hiring of Tommy Amaker effect Michigan
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MARCH 30, 2001
comes a new
By Jeff Phillips
Daily Sports Writer
When Athletic Directoi Bill Martin
*announced the hiring of Tommy Amaker yester-
day"he committed Michigan to a tradition - a
For the first time since the hiring of Bo
Schembechler in 1969, the Wolverines have
gone outside the program to hire a head coach.
This was a calculated move by the Athletic
"The decision was that we were going to go
out (of the program) from day one," Martin said.
In order to find a new head coach, Michigan
went to one of the most successful programs of
the past 15 years - the Blue Devils.
Amaker is proud of his label as a "Krzyzewski
guy," and embraces it openly.
"I'm very proud to have been a player for him.
I'm very proud to have been an assistant for
him," Amaker said. "If anyone said (I was a
Krzyzewski protege) it would be the highest
compliment I could receive."
Amaker has spent 13 years under Krzyzews-
He played on Duke's national runner-up team
1986 and was an assistant on the Blue Devils'
back-to-back national championship teams in
1991 and 1992.
But he wants to make a name for himself
beyond the Duke label.
Krzyzewski "always told me to be yourself,".
Amaker said. "We will do things that will be
similar in the way that we run our program. But
I think he would be disappointed in me if I
didn't say this now or if I didn't carry myself in
this way - that I'm going to be Tommy Amak-
* Despite having the highest respect for
Krzyzewski and the Duke program, Amaker
made it clear that he is not using the Michigan
job ,as leverage to be Krzyzewski's replace-
"I don't think you look at Michigan as being a
stepping stone to anything," Amaker said.
When Martin assembled the screening com.
mittee for the conference call, its goal was
"It's our dream at Michigan to mirror what
Duke has done and I think Tommy Amaker is
our. best chance to do that," said Tim
McCormick who sat of the search committee
and is an ESPN analyst.
Amaker did not see the same success that he
saw at Duke in his four-year stint at Seton Hall,
Blue is finally better
For the first time in years, the
Michigan basketball team is bet-
ter today than it was yesterday.
Tommy Amaker, our 15th basketball
coach -you are exactly what this pro-
"I stressed five things to the team
when I met with
always be well pre-
pared. Be honest
with one another.
We're going to have
"And we're going
to be Michigan."
might ask, what
Amaker - some-
Tommy Amaker: A straight shooter.
but the Pirates had a taste with a Sweet 16
appearance to go with three NIT berths.
A strong factor in the decision was the fact
that Amaker has seen success at the highest level
of basketball and of life.
"His pedigree at Duke is about winning, char-
acter, academics, and that's exactly what we
want at Michigan," McCormick said.
Speculation continues to swirl that Amaker
will bring in other former Duke players as assis-
tants, but Amaker said he has not made a deci-
sion on the fate of the current coaching staff.
While coach at Seton Hall, former Duke play-
ers often would come and play the Pirates.
Amaker said he would try and form that rela-
tionship at Michigan with former Wolverines.
"I think it is going to be important that we do
everything we can to make the in-roads, to reach
out to them, and to make them feel comfortable
coming here," Amaker said.
He's already got the key to Criser ...
. And here are new Michigan head basket-
ball coach Tommy Amaker's keys to success
Similarly, Athletic Director Bill Martin has
his own keys by which he will judge Amaker
and all Michigan coaches:
a Personal character development
one who many.think will only be at
Michigan as long as there's a coach at
Duke - know about being Michigan?
Coach, you know more than they
"I know that Michigan is not a step-
ping stone," Amaker said after the
press conference. "I will be at Michi-
gan as long as (Athletic Director) Bill
Martin will have me here."
Don't worry, Tommy. Martin plans
on having you around for a while.
Your handshake agreement might
only be for five years, but Martin made
it clear that he plans on you being
around much longer than that - which
was not the case with Rick Pitino.
The last guy who coached here -
what was his name? - never got the
support from Martin, the media, or the
Michigan family, so you're off to a
better start already.
The media loves you: You're,intelli-
gent, with two degrees from Duke
(Economics and an MBA). You're
from a good background (owning the
best four-year record of any Duke
player and having coached Seton Hall
to the Sweet Sixteen last year).
And maybe more importantly, you
seem to possess common sense.
When told that Jalen Rose would
like to help Michigan rebuild, you
responded "Then Jalen will get a
phone call from me."
That's a far cry from your predeces-
sor's response - former players help-
ing out is a "two-way street."
The Michigan family really likes
you - another difference between
you and your predecessor.
"He's the right coach for the job,"
former Michigan'star and member of
the advisory committee Tim
McCormick said. "He carries himself
with great class and he's all about
academics and class."
"This is a great decision," sopho-
more Gavin Groninger said. "I'm
excited to start playing for him."
"I'll only have him for one year,'
junior Chris Young said. "It's kind of
unfortunate. I kind of wish I had a
couple more years here."
You've got a good thing here,
Coach. Probably better than you know.
The state of Michigan is full of bud-
ding basketball stars. And they'll start
coming here again. Because it's Michi-
gan. Because we wore baggy shorts
and black socks. Because we could
talk and play. Because we were cool.
And because of you, we'll be cool
The entire team beamed with excite-
ment yesterday. Each saying how
proud they are to play for Michigan
and how happy they were with your
This campus is desperate for a suc-
cessful basketball program. That's why
your predecessor was never accepted.
He couldn't provide excellence.
"This is Michigan," as you said.
We expect to be the best in every-
thing we do - including basketball.
This isn't Michigan State. Michigan
has always defined excellence, and
demands it all the time. Michigan
doesn't just come and go.
And while the Spartans are two
wins away from another national title,
they'll revert to their old selves soon.
They've been booked for Scream 3,
but soon enough they'll be doing 1-800-
They're about to lose their four best
They're on minute 14.
After this weekend, they'll be gone.
And Michigan - with your guid-
ance - will return to being Michigan.
Raphael Goodstein can be reached
By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Editor
to return to Kentucky, and thus
they did. Here's Tommy
Pinder-Amaker is a psychology Coaching history: Head coach;
professor at Seton Hall who will Hall, 1997-2001; Assistant at I
finish the semester in South 1988-96
Orange, N.J. before following College honois: Team captain,
Amaker, who's hoping she can get 87; National Defensive Player c
a job at the University. Year, 198687; Ail-America, 19
"Maybe (Athletic Director Bill All-Final Four, 1986
Martin) could put in a good word for of the Year, 2000
her," Amaker said with a smile.
Who is Tommy Amaker? What
does he think of Michigan? How is
his, wife different than Rick Piti-
no's? Is it Tom or Tommy?
"It's Tommy," Amaker said.
Amaker, 35, graduated with a
*aegree in Economics, and was
Duke's starting point guard for
four years, earning defensive Play-
er of the Year and All-America
honors in 1987, his senior season.
That season Duke was 37-3 and set
the NCAA mark for victories in a
1 season. The Blue Devils made it to
the NCAA Championship game.
After that, he spent a year with
the Seattle Supersonics before he
was cut. Rather than try to latch on
it1: another team, he returned to
uke, where he was an assistant
coach to Mike Krzyzewski and
earned his MBA.
Amaker was an assistant to
Krzyzewski for nine seasons
Every where Amaker has been,
he's been liked.
When Michigan spoke with him
four years ago, Krzvzewski said:
"If Michigan's interested in him,
hey should be. Tommy's amaz-
Sbme of Amaker's players at
Setdn Hall reportedly are consider-
ing coming to Michigan, to follow
Jim Smith, coach of Seton Hall
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