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September 04, 2007 - Image 48

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-04

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I

The Michigan Daily

Beilein's a coach's coach

I

"I think he's definitely in the top
five (coaches in the country), and I
think he's the best teacher. He and
Bobby Knight are right up there as
the best teachers in the country."
That quote might be a little
partisan. After all, it's from
Patrick Beilein, the son and
former player
of new Michi-
gan men's bas-
ketball coach
John Beilein.
But the son's r
opinion, while
admittedly
biased, certain-
ly isn't unique. DANIEL
Howard BROMWICH
Garfinkel, co-
founder of the Broms Away
Five-Star Bas-
ketball camp
that produced coaches like Rick
Pitino, Hubie Brown and John
Calipari, told the Roanoake Times
"(Beilein is) the best coach in
America today, except for maybe
Coach K and Pitino. He's definitely
in the top five."
New Jersey Nets general man-
ager Rod Thorn echoed that senti-
ment.
"He could coach anywhere and
do really, really well," Thorn told
Yahoo Sports. "He's one of the best
coaches in all of basketball."
After his team played West Vir-
ginia this season, Georgetown
coach JohnThompson IIIexplained
that if you couldn't appreciate the
way the Mountaineers played bas-
ketball, you didn't know anything
about the game.
George Washington coach Karl
Hobbs has referred to Beilein as the
best coach in the country.
Athletic Director Bill Martin
was aware of all this recogni-
tion, and when he consulted other
coaches about Beilein, he received
similar reactions.
"We love learning from him,"
one said.
"I look at a lot of his tape to see
how he does stuff," another told
Martin.
But Beilein doesn't need any
of these compliments. His record

speaks for itself.
He's succeeded at every level,
posting winning records in 26 of
his 29 seasons as a head coach,
including stops at Erie Commu-
nity College and Nazareth. He took
Canisius (who?) to the NCAA Tour-
nament in 1996 (it hadn't been since
1957) and advanced to the second
round with Richmond in 1998.
Beilein took over at West Virgin-
ia after a 2001-02 season in which
the Mountaineers finished 1-15
in the Big East. Within just three
years, he had them in the Elite
Eight and followed that with a trip
to the Sweet 16.
Before this past season, West
Virginia lost four starters and 83
percent of its scoring. The team
was picked by many to finish last
or second-to-last in the 16-team Big
East.
"I'm only putting West Virgin-
ia this high - i.e., next to last -
because of Beilein," Gary Parrish of
CBSSportsline wrote. "This team,
quite simply, is going to be ter-
rible. The only question is whether
things will be down for one year,
two years or longer?"
Beilein the led his team to a 9-7
conference record, good enough
for seventh in the conference. West
Virginia defeated then-No. 2 UCLA
in February (the Bruins stomped
Michigan by 37 points two months
earlier) and went on to win the NIT
Championship.
In my most recent column, I enu-
merated the reasons former Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker should
be fired. I specifically pointed to
X's-and-O's, results and player
development, declaring that Amak-
er fell short in all three areas.
Beilein is widely considered
one of the best X's-and-O's guys in
college basketball. Other coaches
respect him for it. For an example,
look no further than the NIT semi-
final, where, trailing by two with
two seconds left, he designed a
play that freed Darris Nichols for a
game-winning 3-pointer. It looked
a little different than Amaker's
"lob-the-ball-to-Jerret-Smith-at-
halfcourt-and-start-the-offense-with-
10-seconds-left-on-the-shot-clock"
play.

Michigan coach John Beilein has proven
he has what it takes to help Michigan's
basketball program succeed.
In terms of results, Beilein's
teams have averaged 25 wins in the
past three seasons and have been to
the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in that
time, in addition to winning an NIT
championship this year.
"An awful lot of teams have been
watching us play at the end of the
year the past few years," Beilein
said.
That's you Michigan, don't be
shy.
Beilein hasn't had the chance to
coach any stars - not a single play-
er of his has ever played in the NBA.
But he turned unknowns Mike
Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle into
household names and crucial con-
tributors on an Elite Eight team.
At Michigan, Beilein will finally
have a talent pool from which to
recruit potential stars. The results
are still to come, but for many, they
don't seem too far off.
"I think he saw this as the elite
level," Patrick Beilein said. "He
did all he could at West Virginia.
(Michigan) is a program that he
can take to Final Fours, and that
really intrigued him."
His father opened yesterday's
press conference by calling his
arrival in Ann Arbor a "thrilling
day."
Coach Beilein, Michigan's more
than thrilled to have you.
- Bromwich can be reached at
dabromwi@umich.edu. This column
originally ran on April 5, 2007.

Senior Dion Harris was unable to help the Michigan basketball team push past Na 1 Ohio State.
Bucks crush hopes

By DANIEL LEVY Petway found Sims alone under
Daily Sports Writer the rim. But the senior's dunk hit
the back rim and came out.
What if? After Michigan stopped the
That pesky question has hov- Buckeyes on the ensuing posses-
ered over the Michigan basketball sion, Harris drew a foul and went
program in recentyears. to the line for a one-and-one situ-
And Saturday's 65-61 loss to No. ation. The 86 percent free throw
1 Ohio State was no different. shooter came up short on his first
The Wolverines had numer- attempt, leaving the Wolverines
ous chances down the stretch but down two.
couldn't make the plays or shots "I think I'm a great free-throw
they needed in the final minutes shooter, and to go up there and
to pull off the upset. Those closing miss those with the opportunity
moments soured what seemed to to tie the game, that's going to be
be a huge Michigan victory in the tough (to get over)," Harris said.
making. "That's pretty much all that's
The importance of knocking goingthrough my mind."
off the nation's top team, coupled Needing a stop and a score in
with the emotion of Senior Day, the final minute, Michigan failed
would have been a fitting way for to corral the rebound off a Mike
Wolverine seniors Dion Harris, Conley Jr. miss, and the Wolver-
Brent Petway, Courtney Sims and ines were forced to foul. Butler
Lester Abram to say goodbye to calmly sank a pair of free throws
Crisler Arena. Instead, barring an with 10 seconds left to ice the
improbable run in this week's Big game, as disappointed fans head-
Ten Tournament, the teamwillbe ed for the exits.
back at Crisler the following week "We lost a game that we had
to take another crack at the NIT. in our hands," Harris said. "We
"When you come so close and should have won."
you know you have to getthis win, The magnitude of the game
(a moral victory) doesn't really was evident from the outset. Har-
mean anything," Sims said. "Slip- ris sank a shot from downtown for
ups like we had at the end of (Sat- three of his game-high 19 points,
urday) cost us the season." and Michigan (8-8 Big Ten, 20-
Michigan's agony began when 11 overall) jumped out to a quick
Harris sprung loose for a 3-point- lead with its four seniors starting
er with the score tied at61 and two together for the first time since a
minutes remaining. Harris's shot Feb. 13 loss at Michigan State.
bounced in and out, and Ohio State But it wasn't until early in the
took the rebound the other way, second half that everyone got a
resulting in a Jamar Butler lay-up taste of just how badly Michigan
that gave the Buckeyes their first coach Tommy Amaker wanted
lead since the opening minutes of this game.
the second half. First, Michigan drew what
The Wolverines tried to answer appeared to be Greg Oden's third
on their next possession when foul, but the official assigned the

foul to Ohio State' s Ivan Harris
instead. On the next possession,
Dion Harris drove right at the
Buckeyes' 7-foot freshman phe-
nom and drew contact without a
call. Following that, Sims attacked
the basket. Again, there was con-
tact but no whistle.
That was all Amaker needed to
see. Feeling his team wasn't get-
ting its fair shake in the lane, the
normally reserved and collected
Amaker immediately jumped in
the official's face and drew an
uncharacteristic technical foul, as
he angrily ripped off his jacket.
"Any time you see your coach
fired up likethat,you know he's in
it with you," Petway said. "I think
we were already playing hard, but
I think we looked up and saw him
battling for us as far as the offici-
atingsowe saidwe'regonnabattle
some more for him."
Michigan responded to Amak-
er's passion with a 14-6 run for
a 51-44 lead with nine minutes
remaining.
Ohio State (15-1,27-3) countered
thanks to six of Oden's team-high
16 points, and tied the game at 55.
Michigan came right back with
a Jerret Smith triple and three-
point play from Sims to regain
control, 61-55, with four minutes
left in front of the raucous Crisler
faithful.
But the fans' faith quickly
turned to despair. Ohio State
clawed back once more and this
time the Wolverines were out of
answers.
Instead, Michigan was once
again left to wonder "What if?"
This article originally
ran on March 5, 2007.

Borseth ready to start

By CHRIS HERRING
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team was all smiles as it
looked on at newly hired coach
Kevin Borseth's press conference
at the Junge Family Champions
Center last Friday.

But no one was more excited
than Borseth himself.
"You have no idea how big a
thrill it is to be standing in frontof
you," said Borseth, whose hiring
was announced last Tuesday. "I
always envisioned myself coach-
ing on an elite level, and Michigan
was always the job I dreamed of.

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What a wonderful thrill to be able
to come here and live this dream."
In pursuit of that dream, Bors-
eth left his position as head coach
atWisconsin-GreenBaylastweek.
There he compiled a216-62 record
over nine seasons, capturing a reg-
ular-season conference title every
year and leading his team to seven
NCAA Tournament appearances.
But the Bessemer native will
have his hands full if he hopes to
achieve the same success in Ann
Arbor.
Just two Michigan teams have
ever won 20 or more games in
the program's 25-year history,
and just one coach, Sue Guevara,
finished with a career winning
percentage more than .500.
Borseth replaces retired coach
Cheryl Burnett, who finished 35-
83 during her four-year stint at
Michigan.
Five seasons removed from a
winning record and fresh off a
10-20 season, Borseth said it may
take time for the Wolverines to
show vast improvements.
"The first year is normally a
learning experience from (the
players) standpoint and from
my standpoint," Borseth said.
"The second year is normally the
toughest, because if you have any
level of success in that first year,
the expectations are far greater
in the second one. But then that
third year seems to roll, and all
of a sudden things begin to hap-
pen."
Borseth's recruitment may
help things happen sooner than
lacer.
Prior to hiring Borseth, Ath-
letic Director Bill Martin said
he was interested in a coach who
had strong recruiting ties in the
Midwest. Borseth's resume fit
the bill, having spent 11 years as
Michigan Tech's women's bas-
ketball coach before leaving for
the Wisconsin-Green Bay job in
1998.
Borseth, 52, got extra insur-
ance by making a hire of his own,
adding former Grand Valley State
head coach Dawn Plitzuweit as
his associate head coach.
Martin said Plitzuweit's exten-
sive knowledge of the area's top
high schoolers left an impression
on him.
"I was taken aback by not only
her knowledge of not only our
players (at Michigan), but all the
top recruits in this area," Martin
said. "She could name every one
of them and list their strengths
and weaknesses. That was a sig-
See BORSETH, Page 8E

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