Michigan Basketball: Revitalized Wolverines Smart to Lock Up John Beilein

C.J. MooreFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 22, 2017

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John Beilein is best thing that ever happened to Michigan basketball, and the administration obviously realizes that.

Michigan gave Beilein a three-year extension on Wednesday that keeps him at the school through the 2018-19 season and will pay him $2.45 million per year, according to Larry Page of the Associated Press. This makes Beilein one of the 10 highest-paid coaches in the country, according to this USA Today list

Beilein deserves this kind of commitment from the university. He has made Michigan a top-10 program for the first time since the early 90s. He has rebuilt the Michigan brand, and he has done so (as far as we know) without the aid of a sleazeball like Ed Martin.

It's refreshing to see a school realize what it has, and Wednesday's news was not shocking. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told MLive.com back in April that he wanted Beilein to finish his career at Michigan.

Some ADs would be hesitant to make such a commitment, but Michigan was coming off a high after the trip to the national title game. Beilein has also won at every level—from Juco to D-2 to mid-major to the Big East to the Big Ten—and gambling on Beilein is like betting on the house. The house always wins, and so has Beilein.

Hopefully, Brandon realized that before the run to the title game. Beilein deserved this kind of commitment whether Michigan made that run or not. The Wolverines nearly lost to Kansas in the Sweet 16—they trailed by 10 with less than three minutes left—and the tournament is so unforgiving that no one should expect a Final Four every other season.

But what Michigan fans should expect is for Beilein to keep winning consistently. He has another potentially great team this upcoming season with the return of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas to go along with the addition of Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton.

For the first time in his career, Beilein is in a situation to recruit the top prospects every year, and no one will ever question his coaching chops.

Beilein, 60, will be 66 when this contract ends, and I would bet that this is not his last contract. He's a basketball lifer. He has reached his destination job. He has the chance to become a Michigan legend and get buildings named after him.

Page reported on Beilein's reaction to the extension:

"I am very excited to have this opportunity to coach at the University of Michigan for at least five more years," Beilein said in a released statement. "I am grateful that President (Mary Sue) Coleman and Dave Brandon are pleased with the direction of our program and have extended this offer of agreement. My staff and I will continue to work every day with our student-athletes to ensure they grow from this incredible educational opportunity. At the same time, competing for Big Ten championship will be the goal each and every year."

You take care of coaches like Beilein when you're lucky enough to find them. Good for Michigan for realizing what it has.