After it was announced that John Beilein would be leaving the University of Michigan to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Wolverines hired Fab Five member, Juwan Howard. The Wolverines and new head coach Howard agreed to a five-year deal on Wednesday, May 22. Howard played basketball at Michigan for three years before being drafted in the NBA by the Washington Bullets. He helped the Fab Five make two national championship games during his time in Ann Arbor.
Howard was the No. 5 overall pick in the 1994 draft. He spent nine seasons in the NBA, and played on eight different teams throughout his career. In 1996, Howard earned his only All-Star Game selection. From 2010 to 2013, he joined the Miami Heat where he played alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, winning two championships. Then, after the 2013 season, the Heat decided to promote Howard to assistant coach, next to head coach Erik Spoelstra.
As for Michigan, although most would say Beilein had a successful career with the Wolverines, the team never won a national title under him. In the past six seasons, Michigan has earned two Big Ten regular season championships, two Big Ten Tournament championships and two NCAA regional championships. In that same time frame, the Wolverines made two national championship appearances in 2013 and 2018. The team lost to Louisville and Villanova, respectively.
After bouncing back from the loss to Villanova in 2018, this 2019 team set a school record for most wins to start a season at 17-0. The Wolverines later finished the season with a record of 28-6. The team went on to compete in the NCAA Tournament, making it past the first two rounds and into its third consecutive Sweet 16. However, the Wolverines lost in the Sweet 16 to Texas Tech. Beilein finished at the University of Michigan with a record of 278-150 in 12 seasons.
Hopefully Howard can at least match what Beilein had done. Howard’s experience of playing alongside three future Hall of Famers in James, Wade and Chris Bosh as well as being an assistant coach alongside Spoelstra could be what he needed to become a successful head coach. Given Howard's history with Michigan and the NBA, fans must wonder if he can bring a Fab Five atmosphere back to the university.