Busting Brackets

Michigan Basketball: 11 candidates to replace Juwan Howard as Head Coach

Michigan coach Juwan Howard reacts to a play during the second half of the 85-70 loss to Nebraska in
Michigan coach Juwan Howard reacts to a play during the second half of the 85-70 loss to Nebraska in / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Following a largely disappointing fifth year at the helm, Juwan Howard is out as Michigan head coach after a half-decade leading the Wolverines program. A former star with the Wolverines, this had been Howard’s first head coaching gig of his career and the announcement comes two days after Michigan’s season came to an end.

Howard was born in Chicago and became a star at the high school level. A talented power forward, he committed to Michigan, arriving in Ann Arbor in 1991 as part of the Fab Five, a group of talented recruits landed by the Wolverines. He would have quite a prosperous playing career for the next two decades.

While at Michigan, Howard helped lead Michigan on consecutive trips to the national championship game, with those runs coming as an underclassman in 1992 and 1993. As a junior, he was named a Third Team All-American before deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, contributing to a lot of winning success in those three years in Ann Arbor.

Howard became the 5th overall pick of the 1994 NBA Draft, beginning an NBA playing career that would run for the next nineteen years. He was an All-Star with the Washington Bullets in 1996 and contribute to eight different franchises across his career.

In his final two seasons, he helped contribute to NBA championships for the Miami Heat before announcing his retirement and rejoining the Heat as an assistant under Erik Spoelstra. Howard’s only prior coaching experience had been on Spoelstra’s bench, staying in that position for six total years.

Howard became head coach at Michigan in 2019, succeeding John Beilein, who after a very successful stint had taken over the Cleveland Cavaliers. While his first season was marred by the pandemic, Howard would lead the Wolverines to a Big Ten regular season title and Elite Eight run in his second season. His Wolverines were back in the Sweet Sixteen the following season.

Unfortunately, recent years have been far less successful. The Wolverines missed out on the Big Dance in his fourth season and only won 8 games in his final year, finishing at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Howard caused controversy with an incident with Wisconsin coach Greg Gard a few seasons ago as well. He missed the beginning of this season with health issues, and the Wolverines just never got into a groove.

From last season’s team, Michigan lost Hunter Dickinson, an All-American, and two future lottery picks, but Howard couldn’t even get that team into the Big Dance. It’s not a surprise when we say that Michigan is a premier coaching job in this sport and the next coach should have ever tool for success. After all, Beilein did take two completely different Michigan squads to national title games back in the 2010’s.

The hunt begins for the Wolverines’ next head coach and we’ll be looking at a number of potential candidates. Again, this is a major position and a lot of names will be mentioned for this one. Should the Wolverines hire someone else with Michigan experience? Should they pluck a fellow power conference head coach who’s shown they can win? We’ll look into several of those possibilities ahead.