Michigan Negotiating With Beilein, Person Close To Program Says

Michigan's search committee had Beilein at the top of a list of coaches

April 2, 2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan was negotiating with West Virginia basketball coach John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, a person close to the Wolverines' program told The Associated Press on Monday night.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the school, said Michigan's search committee had Beilein at the top of a list of coaches who might be interested in coming to Ann Arbor. The list was given to athletic director Bill Martin.

Multiple media outlets reported Monday night that Beilein accepted an offer to be Michigan's coach.

The Dominion Post of Morgantown, W.Va., reported Beilein was in Ann Arbor on Monday and planned to meet with his players Tuesday back on campus.

Martin said there was nothing to report in a Monday morning telephone interview with the AP and in subsequent e-mail later in the day.

Beilein generally doesn't comment on job openings at other schools. He had already checked out of his Atlanta hotel, where he was attending the Final Four, on Monday. A call to Beilein's home in Morgantown, W.Va., went unanswered.

His Boston-based agent, Dennis Coleman, who was also in Atlanta, declined comment and did not return a message left at his office.

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong and deputy athletic director Mike Parsons did not respond to messages Monday, when published reports linked Beilein with Michigan just days after leading the Mountaineers to the National Invitation Tournament championship.

It would cost Michigan $2.5 million to buy out Beilein at West Virginia, plus perhaps about $1 million a season in a multiyear contract.

Michigan fired Amaker last month following six seasons without an NCAA tournament appearance.

Beilein's West Virginia teams made deep runs in the NCAA tournament the previous two seasons. Despite graduating their top four scorers from a year ago, the Mountaineers went 27-9, including a 78-73 win over Clemson in the NIT title game on Thursday.

The 54-year-old Beilein, under contract through the 2011-12 season, earns at least $740,000 per season with annual increases of $20,000.

Wherever he's coached, Beilein has been a success, taking teams without great talent to five NCAA tournaments and six NIT appearances in 29 seasons. His 1-3-1 defense gives opponents fits and his offense ranked second in the country with 10 3-pointers made per game this season.

But in only one of his five previous coaching jobs has Beilein stayed more than five years. He spent nine years at LeMoyne, then five apiece at Canisius and Richmond before coming to West Virginia, where he is in his fifth season.

In 2005, after taking the Mountaineers to the NCAA regional finals, Beilein received a contract extension to derail a possible courtship from Virginia.

Last year North Carolina State came calling, but a $3 million buyout clause in Beilein's contract forced negotiations to fall apart.

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