The Wolverine

December 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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42 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2018 M ichigan head coach John Beilein is known as one of the most modest coaches in college basketball, so it was no surprise when, after he picked up his 800th win, he simply shrugged his shoulders when asked what it meant to him. "It's 800 wins," he said with a grin. "It's 800 wins." Many would have loved to see him reach the milestone in last year's na- tional championship game, feeling it would have been fitting for the guy voted cleanest coach in the country by his peers to pick it up in an era in which college basketball has been under the microscope for being espe- cially dirty. Instead, Beilein notched No. 800 in a 63-44 victory over Norfolk State Nov. 6, in Michigan's season opener. Now 65 years old, the coach be- came only the sixth active Division I coach to reach the milestone. His wife, Kathleen, was in the back of the interview room after the win over NSU, and she was the first one Beilein thanked for being by his side from the beginning. "Kathleen has been with me for all 800," he said. "We got married, we lost a game and then we won one … and that's how it all started." He started his career at Erie Com- munity College near Buffalo in 1978 and posted 75 wins there, notched 20 wins in his only season at Divi- sion III Nazareth College in 1982-83, added 163 more at Division II Le Moyne from 1983-92, picked up an- other 89 at Canisius from 1992-97, won 100 games at Richmond from 1997-2002, triumphed 104 times at West Virginia from 2002-07 and two games into this season is up to 250 at Michigan, where he started in 2007 and is now the school's all-time win- ningest coach. Sophomore forward Isaiah Livers and his teammates were ready to cel- ebrate with their coach last year, and several of them brought up the 799 wins before the 79-62 loss to Villa- nova. "I was looking forward to the opener," Livers said, noting they tried to congratulate Beilein on his accomplishment following the win over Norfolk State. "He tried to over- look it and just celebrate our opener and the 'W,' but we didn't let him go for that. He was trying to talk over us. "We were like, 'Congrats, Coach! 800! Good job, Coach!' But you know how Coach B is. He likes to move forward and just do everything in a routine." Raising banners has also become somewhat routine for the Wolverines. U-M has now hung six under Beilein — two regular-season Big Ten titles, the last two Big Ten Tournament championships and a pair of Final Fours — raising the most recent two before the game with Norfolk State for last year 's Big Ten Tournament crown and Final Four appearance. Livers was in the shadows dur- ing his first game last year when the squad celebrated the first Big Ten Tournament banner (U-M won the inaugural conference tournament in 1998, but sanctions led to the ban- ner's removal). He was front and cen- ter this time around, and he and his teammates also received Final Four rings before this year's opener. "We had to get scooted off to the side the first time," Livers said. "We [Livers and then-freshmen Eli Brooks and Jordan Poole] basically said, 'Get one this year.' We brought two back for the opener." The players and the Crisler Center crowd were treated to a three-minute video on the scoreboard, highlighting last year 's accomplishments before the ceremony took place. Beilein admitted he was more con- cerned about the game than the pre- game ceremony, but he did take time to enjoy it. "I've only thought about the ban- ners going up when [one reporter] said that, and there was one time else when somebody asked me about it," Beilein said a day before the game. "I never live in past very much un- less it really haunts me, where I'm remembering a guarantee game we lost to New Jersey Tech or something. "I don't remember all the successes very well, and I probably should. I'm so focused on this year, but I'm sure when that banner is going up I'll be very proud." It's not a bad recruiting tool either, he added.   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL John Beilein Celebrates 800 Wins And Two More Banners Michigan's team poses with its two new banners before opening the campaign with a 63-44 victory over Norfolk State for head coach John Beilein's 800th career victory. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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