Michigan coach John Beilein took a leap of faith moving to Ann Arbor in 2007, leaving a stable environment at West Virginia to rebuild a once-proud program from rock bottom.
Now, the university is taking that same leap of faith six years later, awarding Beilein with a massive new contract extension that will keep him with the Wolverines through the 2018-19 season.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon confirmed to the Associated Press' Larry Lage, via the Detroit Free Press, that the two sides had ripped up Beilein's old deal and reworked a three-year extension. The new deal will call for a raise to $2.45 million per year in total compensation, which includes both what the university pays and the tab picked up by university sponsors and donors.
Beilein, who is 122–85 in six seasons at the helm in Ann Arbor, was previously under contract through the 2015-16 season. The 60-year-old coach had signed an extension during the 2010-11 season that stood to pay him $12.7 million over the life of the contract. He made $1.8 million for the 2012-13 season and was due an increase to $1.9 for next year and the remaining two beyond that campaign.
While there was no impetus for either side that a deal had to get done immediately—Beilein had made no indication of leaving, nor had he been linked to any openings this offseason—it's clear Michigan wanted to reward its coach for one of the finest seasons in school history.
After Beilein's first five seasons saw mostly middling progress, with the coach compiling young talent and slowly helping restore the prestige to the maize and blue, everything came together in 2012-13. Behind a star-studded cast of youngsters, the Wolverines went 31-8 (12-6 in the Big Ten Conference) and made a thrilling run all the way to the NCAA National Championship Game.
A No. 4 seed, Michigan lost to the tournament's top overall team, Louisville, in a hard-fought national title contest. The Wolverines held a halftime lead, but could not keep the athletic Cardinals off the scoreboard well enough to hold on.
That said, that 2012-13 squad put Michigan back on the map. The trip to the Final Four was the university's first since the Fab Four era's final run in 1992-93, a near-triumph that has since been wiped from the record books. Michigan's last pre-2013 Final Four appearance still listed on the NCAA's record books was in 1988-89, when Steve Fisher led the Wolverines to their only national championship.
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Point guard Trey Burke won the National Player of the Year award, and Michigan boasted some of the most promising young talent in the nation. Burke and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. were both taken in the first round of June's NBA draft.
Despite losing Burke and Hardaway, next season's Michigan squad will be expected to compete for a national championship. Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, two likely first-round picks, chose to return for their sophomore seasons, as did three-point gunner Nik Stauskas.
Now those players know their coach shares that same long-term faith.
Beilein has not made a comment on his new contract at this time. He holds a career 598–360 record over 30 seasons as a Division I coach. Before West Virginia, Beilein coached at Nazareth, Le Moyne, Canisius and Richmond.
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