WVU's Beilein at top of Michigan's list
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- 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.
John Beilein has won at all his Division I stops and is 293-175 in his career. He led West Virginia to the Elite Eight in 2005 and in 2007 guided the Mountaineers to the NIT title.
According to ESPN.com's Andy Katz, who first reported Michigan's interest in Beilen on March 29, the buyout in Beilein's contract, a dollar-for-dollar match on his remaining deal -- presently worth $2.5 million -- could be an issue.
The person, who spoke to AP 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.
UNLV's Lon Kruger, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery and Creighton's Dana Altman were also recommended, the person said, adding that the search committee had names of other possible candidates available for Martin.
Altman was hired by Arkansas on Monday. Lowery agreed to a seven-year contract extension Sunday.
Martin said there was nothing to report in a Monday morning telephone interview with the AP and in a subsequent e-mail.
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.
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.
Besides the buyout, it would cost Michigan about $1 million a season in a multiyear contract for Beilein.
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 fail.
The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Andy Katz contributed to this report.