Juwan Howard was officially hired by Michigan, his alma mater, as the head basketball coach on Wednesday, accepting a five-year deal starting at $2 million annually.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the University of Michigan’s storied basketball program,” Howard said in a statement. “As a ‘Michigan Man,’ I know the place our program has in college basketball and I embrace the chance to build onto that history and lead us to championships both in the Big Ten and national level.
“I cannot wait to get started. It feels great to be coming home. Go Blue!”
Howard, a Miami Heat assistant coach, became the front-runner for the Michigan job after Providence’s Ed Cooley withdrew from consideration Tuesday and signed a multiyear contract extension to stay with the Friars.
“We have found someone with high integrity, great character and a coach who has unbelievable knowledge of the game of basketball,” Michigan’s athletic director, Warde Manuel, said in a statement. “Juwan has proven himself to be a tremendous leader, a wonderful communicator and a developer of talent. We couldn’t have asked for a better role model for the young men in our program. We are excited to welcome back a member of the family to Ann Arbor.”
Howard, 46, has been an assistant with the Heat since September 2013, when he retired after playing more than 1,200 games with eight N.B.A. franchises from 1994 to 2013. He reportedly interviewed this off-season for the head coaching vacancies with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Howard, a member of the Fab Five 1991 recruiting class at Michigan, was the No. 5 pick in the 1994 N.B.A. draft. He was an All-Star with Washington in 1995-96 and won an N.B.A. championship with the Heat in 2011-12.
He averaged 13.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in 19 N.B.A. seasons.
His former Wolverines teammate Jalen Rose said last week that hiring Howard was a “no-brainer” for Michigan.
“Now that there’s a vacant job in Ann Arbor, let’s do a blank canvas as to who should be the No. 1 candidate. To me, that should be a no-brainer,” Rose said Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show. “There’s a guy named Juwan Howard that’s from Chicago, which means he’s going to help recruit that market.”
“For those who don’t know,” Rose added, “he was always the adult in the room among us.”
Howard replaces John Beilein, who left on May 13 to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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