John Beilein, formerly of the Michigan Wolverines and Cleveland Cavaliers, has been a name thrown around by BC sports fans as an optimistic option for the Eagles to hire as their next men’s basketball head coach. As an experienced college head coach with 13 NCAA tournament appearances under his belt, Beilein would be an outstanding hire if Boston College could manage to get him.
Beilein was the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines for 12 seasons, posting a 278-150 (.650) overall record and a 126-92 (.578) record in the Big Ten. He reached 9 NCAA tournaments with Michigan, including national title games in 2013 and 2018, and helped bring back a Michigan program that was a middling 43-53 in the Big Ten for 6 seasons under their previous coach. Beilein also coached West Virginia, Richmond, Canisius, and Le Moyne in his college coaching career. He began the 2019-20 NBA season as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, but resigned the position in February of 2020 after struggling to adapt his coaching style to the NBA and having problems with the locker room after telling his players they were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.”
Why he’d be interested:
Beilein is out of a job right now and, after taking a year off, may be looking into getting back to coaching. He’s 68 and very well could retire with plenty of money at this point, but after taking on a new job with the Cavs last season, it’s clear that Beilein still has the drive to take on new challenges and continue coaching. As far as the BC position goes, it’s one of the more enticing options this offseason that we know of so far (better opportunities may arise at Penn State and Iowa State, among others), but it is not a walk in the park whatsoever. The benefits of being a P6 program are that you can begin to attract top coaching talent, but BC is in the bottom-tier of the P6. The BC job requires a full rebuild and years of dedication before the Eagles can start winning again. If Beilein is truly desperate to get back into the coaching game this year, he may be enticed by the Boston College vacancy. But it will be a very tough sell for an aging legend.
Why it could work:
I mean, just look at this guy’s record. As experienced as anyone, as successful as anyone, and would be a dream come true for the program. While most realistic hires will probably take at least 4-5 years to get BC back to respectability in the ACC, it would probably take Beilein roughly 3 years. This would be a home-run hire and should be at the top of the list for any BC fan.
Why it could flop:
He did have that locker room issue with the Cavs as previously mentioned, but after reading up on it, it looks like the players forgave him and he seemed truly remorseful about his comments. The reason he didn’t work out in Cleveland had mostly to do with the switch to pros from college, so a return to college would actually be a benefit here. I highly doubt a Beilein hire would be a flop as long as he’s educated himself and learned from past mistakes.
How likely is this hire?
Very unlikely. Landing an NCAA coaching legend is no small task. Convincing him to sink years into a rebuild at the age of 68 is an even harder task. I see this hire as a remote possibility, and the BC administration will probably take a swing at him, but don’t get your hopes up.