John Beilein displays on his time at Michigan in latest interview

Former Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball head coach John Beilein is now a special development assistant with the Detroit Pistons. He’s also now a two-time Hall of Famer, as he’s been announced as an inductee into both the College Basketball Hall of Fame as well as the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame within the last month.

Beilein sat down with Andy Katz of the Big Ten Network in an offseason interview that revolved around three things: luck, survival and achievement.

Katz started the interview by asking about Beilein’s transition from West Virginia to Michigan. WVU was a program Beilein took to great heights as well before coming to Ann Arbor to do the same for the Wolverines.

“What I hoped really was that I could make it, that I wouldn’t get fired,” said Beilein. “You know I owed West Virginia a ton of money and if I got fired, I couldn’t pay for it. I just was trying to survive. Hopefully, at some point within that first five years, just make the NCAA Tournament because they hadn’t made it in so long. That was it: survival.”

Later on, Beilein reminisced about his coaching trajectory and the well-known story of how he was never an assistant coach throughout his whole career.

“I started in ’78 at Erie Community College. I don’t think anybody’s ever done it,” Beilein said. “I’m not trying to applaud myself. You just did the job, and again you go back to survival. You take a job at Erie, Nazareth, or Le Moyne. You got four little children. You’re trying to just survive.

“It’s really a unique, unique journey. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone because you’ve got to be really lucky to have those situations. […] It’s amazing luck along the way. This means so much to me because college basketball was in the fabric of my life for so long — for over 40 something years. That’s all I did — family and college basketball. To be inducted into this hall of fame is really special.”

The usual talking points were all also hit. From Trey Burke’s shot against Kansas to Jordan Poole’s dagger against Houston to, of course, Duncan Robinson’s transition from Williams College to Michigan and then to the Miami Heat. Katz highlighted all the accomplishments Beilein achieved in his career from him.

“There’s not one moment,” Beilein said. “You’ve got Trey Burke’s shot, you’ve got Jordan Poole’s shot, you’ve got all these things that people think about but so much went into that. I think it was the feeling that you had the program in the right direction. Kids were graduating, it was clean, it was just a sense of achievement that was really rewarding for my staff, for myself, I know for the administration, but most importantly, for our players.”

Beilein finished his career at Michigan with a 278-150 record in 12 seasons. He reached the NCAA Tournament nine times and of those nine, five resulted in Sweet 16 appearances, two resulted in getting to the championship.

You can watch the full interview below.

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