ATLANTA — On a big, big March Madness day, University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein was named one of five finalists for the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club.
Joining Beilein as finalists for Coach of the Year are Virginia’s Tony Bennett, SMU’s Larry Brown, Florida’s Billy Donovan and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall.
After the departure of NBA first-round selections Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., as well as losing preseason All-American Mitch McGary to injury midway through the non-conference season, Beilein guided the Wolverines to a 25-8 record and fifth 20-plus win season, and fourth straight, in seven years at U-M.
Michigan won its first outright Big Ten title in 28 years, claiming the conference title by three games. The league crown is also U-M’s second Big Ten title in the last three years after earning a share in 2012. With the Big Ten title in hand, U-M earned its first No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Tournament and reached the championship game for the first time since the inaugural event in 1998.
Beilein has led the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in his tenure at Michigan. After reaching the 2013 national title game, U-M earned a No. 2 seed for the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
This season, U-M recorded wins over three straight top-10 opponents for the first time in school history with its victories at No. 3 Wisconsin (77-70, Jan. 18), against No. 10 Iowa (75-67, Jan. 22) and at No. 3 Michigan State (80-75, Jan. 25). It was the first time any team had accomplished the feat since Florida during the 2007 NCAA Tournament and the first time a Big Ten team accomplished it since Iowa during the 1986-87 season. The wins at No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 3 Michigan State are the highest-ranked foes in a road win in program history.
Beilein, who coached the ninth-youngest team in the nation with just two upperclassmen, was named the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year by the media and the USBWA District V Coach of the Year. Under his tutelage, Nik Stauskas earned the program’s second straight Big Ten Player of the Year honor, as well as unanimous All-Big Ten first team honors. Caris LeVert (second team) and Glenn Robinson III (honorable mention) also earned All-Big Ten honors, while Derrick Walton Jr. was named to the all-freshman team, helping U-M place a Wolverine on that team for the fourth consecutive season.
The Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year will be announced during the Final Four in Dallas at the Naismith Awards Welcome Brunch, April 6, at the City Club Dallas.