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.
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
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
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.