Busting Brackets

Michigan Basketball: Dusty May announced as new head coach of Wolverines

March 22, 2024, Brooklyn, NY, USA;  Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Dusty May reacts against the
March 22, 2024, Brooklyn, NY, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Dusty May reacts against the / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that comes something as a surprise, Michigan recently announced that Dusty May would become the program’s next head coach of their basketball program. He arrives in Ann Arbor to replace Juwan Howard, a former Wolverine star who coached with mixed results over the last five seasons.

Born in Peoria, Illinois, May grew up in the state of Indiana and has Big Ten experience in his career. While he didn’t play college ball, he served as a student manager for the Indiana Hoosiers under legendary coach Bob Knight during the tail end of his career in Bloomington. May would later serve in administrative roles at Indiana and USC before beginning his full-time coaching career a few seasons later.

May’s first full-time gig was on staff at Eastern Michigan and was quickly followed by short stints against Murray State and UAB. He arrived at Louisiana Tech in 2009 and would work there for six years, including four under Mike White. May would then follow White to Gainesville and worked three years in the SEC at Florida.

May’s head coaching career began in 2018 when Florida Atlantic handed him the reigns of their basketball program. He inherited a program that had finished below .500 in seven straight years and had failed to gain tread even with solid head coaches like Matt Doherty, Mike Jarvis, and Michael Curry. What he would accomplish in Boca Raton over the next six seasons would be legendary.

The story of the first few seasons was steady progress. May took the Owls to the CIT in his first year and the CBI a few years later and didn’t let the pandemic harm the trajectory of the program. He had built the roster he wanted entering year five and his Owls certainly exceeded expectations. That Florida Atlantic squad in 2023 won 31 games in the regular season, earned a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and marched to the program’s first four Tourney wins and a historic Final Four appearance.

May returned nearly his entire roster this past season, though Florida Atlantic underachieved with all that talent a target on their back. They finished in 2nd place in their first season in the AAC, but were upset in the AAC Tournament and fell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament just a few days ago.

Opting to depart Boca Raton, May heads back towards familiar ground in the Midwest, taking over a Michigan program that needs stability. Juwan Howard had this program in the Elite Eight just a few seasons ago and May can have that same type of success in the coming years. The Wolverines won just eight games all season and certainly needed a recharge.

Rumors were flying that May was heading to Louisville, but instead the announcement came that Michigan would be his destination. It makes sense for him to chase that bigger paycheck and a more prominent program, especially with several of his pieces from FAU expected to leave, with some perhaps following him to Ann Arbor. With the current state of the Louisville program and his past experience in the Big Ten, choosing Michigan makes sense from May’s point of view.

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A lot of attention will be on these Wolverines in the coming years, especially after what May accomplished in a short time down in Florida. Michigan is a prominent basketball program and can be a national contender again, much like they were during the latter years of John Beilein’s tenure. Will May soar in Ann Arbor or has he made a mistake? What will become of Florida Atlantic beyond his tenure? All of these questions will be answered in the coming years, but the Wolverines nabbed one of the best mid-major coaches we’ve seen in recent years.