Cavaliers Hire John Beilein As Head Coach

11:11am: The Cavaliers have officially named Beilein their new head coach, with general manager Koby Altman indicating in a statement that the decision came after a “deep and thorough” search.

“Following the end of [our] interviews, it became clear to us that Coach Beilein was the right choice and best fit for our franchise,” Altman said. “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.”

7:46am: The Cavaliers have picked a head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has reached a deal with Michigan’s John Beilein. The two sides have agreed to a five-year contract, per Wojnarowski.

It’s a surprising conclusion to a lengthy head coaching search which saw the Cavs focused primarily on NBA assistants. The club reportedly interviewed nearly a dozen other candidates, most of whom are currently members of NBA staffs, including Ettore Messina (Spurs), David Vanterpool (Trail Blazers), Alex Jensen (Jazz), and many others.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Instead of going with one of those options though, Cleveland will dip into the college ranks for Beilein, who informed Michigan’s administration on Monday morning of his decision to make the leap to the NBA, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Woj adds that discussions between Beilein and the Cavs escalated over the weekend before they reached an agreement on Sunday.

Beilein, a veteran NCAA coach who had stops at a number of other schools – including West Virginia, Richmond, and Canisius – before arriving at Michigan, has a career college record of 754-425 (.640). With the Wolverines, that mark is 278-150 (.650). Although he didn’t win an NCAA championship at Michigan, he led the team to appearances in the title game in 2013 and 2018.

Beilein interviewed last spring for the Pistons’ head coaching job and also talked to the Magic, but ultimately decided to stick with the Wolverines. It appears his interest in the NBA was legit though, and now he’ll get the opportunity to reunite with Cavaliers assistant general manager Mike Gansey. As Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports observes (via Twitter), Gansey played under Beilein at West Virginia from 2004-06.

In his full story on Beilein’s hiring, Wojnarowski explains that the Cavaliers have been using the term “culture-driver” internally as they weighed the possibility of bringing in the Michigan head coach, who is considered one of the best teachers in college basketball. From Beilein’s perspective, the opportunity to lead a Cavs rebuild – with Collin Sexton already on the roster and a top-six draft pick set to join him – was appealing, says Woj.

The Cavaliers, who become the fourth team to hire a new head coach this offseason, intend to surround Beilein with an “experienced staff of NBA assistants,” sources tell Wojnarowski.

Cleveland had been on the lookout for a new head coach for over a month, having mutually agreed to part ways with Larry Drew on April 11.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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23 thoughts on “Cavaliers Hire John Beilein As Head Coach

  1. acarneglia

    Wow! That’s a surprise. I really liked Beilein’s work at Michigan and I think he’ll be successful in the nba

  2. Alex Graboyes

    Why would you leave. And why isn’t this Jay Wright, Chris Beard, or Tony Bennett. They are better coaches. But still why would you leave a great U-M job for the worst team in the NBA

    • knickscavsfan

      Every team is the “worst team” at some point. Just about every team has been in the top 5 draft position because of under-performance.

      I’m not so into NCAA that I can say one way or the other that this is a right pick but at least he’s a coach I a confident in that will create a culture and should be able to get the most of the young guys we have.

    • x%sure

      Gilbert is from Michigan. He likes it when the Cavs wear Piston-like unis even though it’s in the wrong colors.

  3. He’s probably tired of recruiting; also, he has nowhere to go but up with the Cavs. If he improves them to a 45 or 50 win team in the next 5 years, he can then retire with satisfaction and enjoy the rest of his life.

  4. D-NBA

    Michigan always had one of the best defenses in college. The Cavaliers can challenge for a 8th spot next season, just not sure who they should draft. I’d draft Barrett, him and Sexton would slice and dice teams.

    • Beilein likes to run a 1-3-1 zone, which probably won’t work in the NBA.

      Its a strange hire, but whatever. Nothing really matters.

      • D-NBA

        When Love was in the lineup the Cavs stringed together victories. They could win 35-42 games next season as long as Love is healthy.

  5. hiflew

    This is a good hire. The Cavs might be able to compete in the Big Ten now.

  6. Michael Chaney

    This is an extremely surprising hire, but honestly I kind of like it. I was expecting a trendy young assistant in the mold of Kenny Atkinson, but even as an Ohio State fan I’ve long thought Beilein is a really good coach.

    UM never had the recruiting classes of schools like Kentucky or Duke but he coached those kids into really solid players, and they were annually one of the best defensive teams in the country (which is definitely somewhere the Cavs could improve). It’s definitely outside the box, but if you’re going to hire a college coach, he’s one of the best candidates.

  7. OCTraveler

    This is a great hire. It shows imagination and decisiveness and there was no drama during the process. After what just happened in Los Angeles it was nice to see someone do it simple and do it right.

    • Senioreditor

      Like any of that really matters? If the Caves open 2-10, you’ll see drama and plenty of imagination and decisiveness.

      • knickscavsfan

        I doubt Gilbert will have that short of a leash on his own personal pick.

  8. we_got_game

    Michigan fan here this was a great hire by CAVS. He is a players coach and obviously works well with the younger generation.. Point guards have a big role in his offense. Expect Collin sexston to put up big numbers. As far as Michigan goes this leaves a huge hole to fill.. Hopefully we can get a great coach.

  9. knickscavsfan

    I do think with the Sexton (3 years removed from HS) and the likelihood that our 1st round pick will be a one-and-done kid (2 years removed from HS) maybe a college coach known for being able to relate to his recruits and known for creating a good culture could be great. Maybe they even use that 2nd 1st round pick on Iggy Brazdeikis?

  10. ohioplayers

    Could Avery Johnson be one of the assistants in consideration? NBA experience and coached Sexton in college

  11. x%sure

    I was most impressed with his work at West Viginia. The players were even more of nobodies than at Michigan but they could beat anybody with spirit, movement and resolve. This continued at UM, though I thought they looked too unstructured when it didn’t work. But it generally did.

    The basketball world is not as aware of Beilein as itvcould be, but Gilbert is from Michigan and would have noticed.

    Just remember, “e” before “I”! Twice

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