The former in words, the latter in actions. He’s 10-0 and ranked No. 3 with, dare I say, his best team in 35 years as a head coach. That’s heady stuff, even at Michigan, which has been to six Final Fours and five championship games. The Wolverines just haven’t been 10-0 since the 1988-89 season, the one that ended with their only national title.
It’s a new landscape for Beilein, as well, after a lifetime spent building a career by rebuilding programs so that he might get a chance to do the same for another school at a higher level. Five years at Canisius, five years at Richmond, five years at WVU and … wait … six years at Michigan?
Yes, all of this — the lofty ranking, the perfect start, the nationally televised games, the very good recruiting class — is in the sixth year, the one he never gave himself before.
“He could never see how things would turn out after he rebuilt those previous programs, but he wants to stay and finish his coaching career there now and finally see what he built,” said Pat Beilein, the West Virginia Wesleyan coach who scored 1,001 points for his dad from 2003-06 at WVU.
“He never got that chance with the other programs he was rebuilding. Now he’s looking forward to seeing what will come of the finished product.”
An unquestioned winner in games and practices, Beilein always coached for the victories and improvements. He lived for building something special, which often meant rebuilding a program, whether it was the one he would leave a job to take over or the N.C. State or Indiana jobs he eyeballed while at WVU.
“There is no other one now,” John Beilein said Wednesday. “It’s been a great journey so far being a bit of a nomadic coach at different places. Sometimes there comes a time when you have to say, ‘Oh, man, I really want to savor this one and make the most of it.’ “