John Beilein was named head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, ending his 12 years at University of Michigan.
He signed a five-year deal to bolt for the NBA, ESPN reported.
Beilein guided the Wolverines to two Final Four appearances and four Big Ten titles.
“I want to thank the University of Michigan for what has been a truly special home and remarkable place for my family and I for the last 12 years. We have achieved great success together and we could not have done it without the incredible support of our administration, coaches, players, staff, students, fans and the entire university community. We shared some of the best moments of my life together and I will always be grateful for that, “ said Beilein. “At the same time, I felt very strongly about this new and exciting opportunity with the Cavaliers. I am very thankful to Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman and honored to be the head coach of the Cavaliers. I love the position the team is in to build and grow and this was something I felt was the perfect fit for me. With hard work and dedication by all of us, we will grow this team day by day and reinforce a culture of success that sustains itself with strong core values. Cleveland is a great city with amazing fans and I am really looking forward to calling Cleveland home for years to come.”
The 66-year-old coach informed players and staff at Michigan he was moving on in a meeting Monday morning, prompting a message of thanks from the Wolverines’ athletic department.
“Thank you, @JohnBeilein, for everything you did for Michigan: 278 Wins, 9 NCAA Tournament Appearances, 2 Final Four Appearances, 2 #B1G Regular Season Championships, 2 #B1G Tournament Titles, 18 All-Big Ten Selections, 9 @NBA Draft Picks.”
The Cavaliers are back in the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday seeking another cornerstone for the franchise after narrowly missing the worst record in the league in their first season without LeBron James since his return from Miami. The Cavaliers, Suns and Knicks all have a 14 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
Beilein is an offensive-minded coach — Michigan played primarily a zone defense — using an approach similar to that of the Golden State Warriors “face and space” with four perimeter players set up outside the 3-point line and one working in the paint.
Beilein has a 829-468 combined coaching record and was interviewed twice last offseason for head-coaching jobs, but he broke off talks with the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons to stay at Michigan.
Cavaliers assistant general manager Mike Gansey played for Beilein at West Virginia, and general manager Koby Altman was said to be seeking a coach who could create a different culture in Cleveland.
“We conducted a deep and thorough search to find the best possible candidate for the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. We interviewed several strong and talented candidates who, no doubt, will get an opportunity to become an NBA head coach somewhere down the line,” said Altman in a statement. “Following the end of those interviews, it became clear to us that Coach Beilein was the right choice and best fit for our franchise. John is one of the most accomplished and innovative basketball minds and leaders in the entire game. He has a unique ability to create an outstanding culture that will promote the development of young players and provide a solid structure to the entire program; not to mention the fact that John Beilein wins everywhere he goes. We are excited Coach Beilein is joining our organization as we continue to build the foundation that any enterprise needs to be successful and competitive year in and year out.”
—Field Level Media