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John Beilein is a college coach without NBA survival skills

On Sunday night, during the most riveting All-Star Game of the last 20 years, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Cleveland’s front office “have discussed the possibility of him stepping down as head coach during the All-Star Break.” This was...

  1. … an all-time news dump. 

  2. … not that surprising, if you’ve been following the 14-40 Cavs this season.

  3. … another reminder that the jump from college to the NBA is not for most coaches.

Before signing with Cleveland on a five-year deal this offseason, Beilein had been at Michigan since 2007, and was one of the more respected coaches and teachers in college basketball; he’s won 571 college games between four different jobs and twice took Michigan to the national title game.

At 67, he was the oldest rookie head coach in NBA history entering this season. And it sounds like it didn’t click from the start.

“I can tell you now, before the season even started, that entire team was like, nope, to Beilein. Before the season started, I had heard, like, hey, this is the fastest ever an entire locker room is out on a guy.”

What made the fissure worse was a January film room meeting, when Beilein reportedly accidentally told his team it was playing like “a bunch of thugs.” He apologized and insisted he was trying to say slugs. (Which is, to be fair, something a 67-year-old would say.) But the mistake was made and the Freudian-ness was insinuated, and now Beilein is “unhappy -- even miserable -- with the move to the Cavaliers,” according to Woj. Beilein and the Cavs will meet today to sort things out, so he could be out of town and in the college coaching carousel as soon as tonight. If so, interim coach extraordinaire J.B. Bickerstaff will take over. Meanwhile: Every Cavalier is smiling through gritted teeth saying, noooo haha don’t go … you were such a good coach...


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