ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Juwan Howard is coming home.

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 11: NBA basketball player Juwan Howard arrives at the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

 

 

The former member of the Fab Five agreed to a five-year deal, which will pay him $2 million in his first year, on Wednesday to lead the Wolverines.

“As a ‘Michigan Man’ I know the place our program has in college basketball and I embrace the chance to build onto that history and lead us to championships both in the Big Ten and national level,” Howard said. “We will continue to develop young men on the court, in the classroom and in the community that our fan base will continue to be proud of.”

 

 

 

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 08: Former Michigan Wolverines player Juwan Howard supports Michigan against the Louisville Cardinals during the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four Championship at the Georgia Dome on April 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 

 

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, in his first major move in three years in charge of the department, is giving the Miami Heat assistant coach his first shot at being a head coach other than during the NBA’s summer league.

“We have found someone with high integrity, great character and a coach who has unbelievable knowledge of the game of basketball,” Manuel said. “Juwan has proven himself to be a tremendous leader, a wonderful communicator and a developer of talent. We couldn’t have asked for a better role model for the young men in our program. We are excited to welcome back a member of the family to Ann Arbor.”

He replaces John Beilein, who left to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

 

 

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 28: Head coach John Beilein of the Michigan Wolverines reacts during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament West Regional game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Honda Center on March 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

 

 

Howard helped Michigan reach the national championship game twice, playing alongside Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The school later removed the Fab Five’s Final Four banners from Crisler Arena as part of self-imposed sanctions that stemmed from one of the NCAA’s largest financial scandals.

A federal investigation revealed now-deceased booster Ed Martin gave Webber and three non-Fab Five players more than $600,000. The NCAA forced the school to dissociate from the former players involved until 2013. The saga stained the university and basketball program, leading to many years of struggles.

 

 

 

MIAMI BEACH, FL – JUNE 22: Juwan Howard and Jenine Howard arrives at Irie Foundation #InspIRIE Dinner Gala on June 22, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Ima (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

 

 

 

“Juwan wasn’t a part of that,” Jackson told AP in a telephone interview. “He was never involved. And despite being part of the Fab Five, which is tied to Ed Martin, Juwan embodies the professionalism and positivity that Michigan represents across the world.”

Beilein became the leader Michigan needed, running the program without a hint of controversy and bringing the school back to the national title game in 2013 and 2018. The Wolverines also won two Big Ten season championships — accomplishments the Fab Five never achieved — along with a pair of conference tournament titles while becoming the school’s all-time winningest coach.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 14: National Basketball Association 2012-2013 champion Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade (C) rubs the back of Assistant Coach Ron Rothstein’s head before the start of an event with Rashard Lewis, LeBron James, Juwan Howard, Udonis Haslem and James Jones at the White House January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. This is the second year in a row the team won the championship and made a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

 

Although Howard doesn’t have ties to Michigan’s recent history with Beilein, his connection to the school is significant. Howard’s hiring may bring a wave of excitement with endorsements from former teammates such as Webber and Rose along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. His coaching experience in the NBA also makes him an attractive coach for top prospects.

Howard had been a candidate to be a head coach in the NBA, including at Cleveland coincidently.

 

 

 

MIAMI, FL – JULY 17: Newly acquired forward Juwan Howard (L) listens to Miami Heat Head Coach Pat Riley (R) during a press conference at the Miami Arena 17 July. Howard played for two years for the Washington Bullets, averaging 22.1 points and 8.4 rebounds in the 95-96 NBA season. The Heat has agreed to pay Howard some 98 million USD for seven years. (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

The 46-year-old Howard, who is from Chicago, played at Michigan for three seasons before Washington drafted him No. 5 overall in 1994. The two-time NBA champion with the Heat and one-time All-Star averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists during his career that ended after the 2012-13 season.

Howard went into coaching after retiring as a player, starting as an assistant coach focused on player development with the Heat being promoted to an assistant coach with one of the franchises he played for during his 19-year career.

The Heat had long been bracing for Howard to move up in the coaching ranks. They knew Howard’s longtime goal has been an NBA job, but understood that if Michigan ever called, he would have to take a long look at the opportunity.

“I’m happy for Juwan, Jenine and his family, and feel he is deserving of this opportunity to coach at the University of Michigan,” Heat president Pat Riley said. “He is going back to a school and a conference in which he is revered. I think it is a great step forward for him and the university, and I wish him nothing but the best, because that’s what he’s given us.”

 

 

 

MIAMI, FL – APRIL 17: Juwan Howard #5 of the Miami Heat shoots during a game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on April 17, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Howard was extremely popular in the Heat locker room as a player — he was a mentor of sorts during Miami’s Big Three era with Wade, James and Chris Bosh — and getting him the long-elusive championship ring was a major motivation source for those teams.

“Juwan is an absolute star as a person, player, and coach,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I feel he is more than ready. He is a terrific leader and mentor, which translates very well to the collegiate level. While we are losing a valuable member of our staff and a great friend, I am happy for him and his family. He will forever be a champion and part of the Heat family and I am excited to see him take the next step.”

 

 

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 08: (L-R) Former Michigan Wolverines players Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Jalen Rose cheer for Michigan in the first half against the Louisville Cardinals during the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four Championship at the Georgia Dome on April 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Howard was the first member of the Fab Five to commit to play at Michigan and he later recruited Webber, Rose, King and Jackson to join him.

“He’s the forefather of the Fab Five,” Jackson’s aid. “Now, look at his resume: two Final Fours, an Elite Eight and NBA champion. He’s also a great man, who went back to get his degree after being in the NBA and that says a lot about him. He’s always been focused and determined and widely respected.

 

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