He’s coming home, he’s coming home. Tell the world that he’s coming home.
Former Michigan basketball star and “Fab Five” member Juwan Howard has agreed to a five-year deal to become University of Michigan’s 17th men’s basketball head coach. Howard’s deal starts at $2 million annually with a base salary of $400,000.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the University of Michigan’s storied basketball program,” said Howard. “I have been very fortunate to be part of a great championship organization in the Miami Heat for the last nine years — three as a player and six as a coach. It was always going to take something incredibly special for me to leave Miami…however, I know in my heart this is the right place and the right time.”
Howard’s return to Michigan comes after former head coach John Beilein shockingly left the program to take a five-year deal as the new head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the timing of Beilein’s departure, Michigan had to immediately begin their search to replace the winningest coach in the program’s history. While names such as Providence’s head coach Ed Cooley and Texas head coach Shaka Smart were linked to be potential replacements, Howard was always pegged as the most logical choice due to his Michigan ties.
“As a ‘Michigan Man,’ I know the place our program has in college basketball and I embrace the chance to build onto that history and lead us to championships both in the Big Ten and [on a] national level. We will continue to develop young men on the court, in the classroom and in the community that our fan base will continue to be proud of,” said Howard.
While there are concerns about Howard’s lack of collegiate coaching experience, he spent his last six years as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Miami Heat. As an assistant for the last five years (2014-19), Howard worked under Erik Spoelstra and helped the Heat win three division titles (2014, ‘16 and ‘18) and one Eastern Conference championship (2014). He spent his first year as an assistant coach and player development coach in 2013 working with the Heat’s big men as well as serving as the team’s defensive coordinator. Additionally, Howard’s 19-year NBA career brings experience that can aid him in recruiting — pitching to recruits on his expertise of what it takes to make it to the professional level and to have a successful career. Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the Heat as well.
Howard’s new role is also looked at by many as a “full circle” moment. Before his professional career, Howard, along with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson, headlined Michigan’s 1991 recruiting class that was famously dubbed the “Fab Five.” This group led Michigan to back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 1992 and 1993. They are recognized by many as one of the greatest recruiting classes of all-time.
Howard’s “Fab Five” brothers voiced their support of Howard’s hiring. Jalen Rose spoke on ESPN’s Get Up show Thursday morning and acknowledged that Howard’s hiring will spark a reunion amongst the group.
“Any time you grow up for public consumption like we’ve done, people have gotten a chance to see us at our highest of heights and our lowest of lows,” Rose said. “And they’ve seen some discord. I just gotta acknowledge this on national television: those days are over. Not seeing eye to eye…there will not be any disrespect toward the program, there will not be any sideshows, there will not be any friction amongst the Fab-Five. We’re about to all come together like Voltron and do what we gotta do to put us back on the map.”
Currently, the University of Michigan has not announced a date for Howard’s introductory press conference. It is expected to be in the next several days. One thing for certain is that Howard is elated to return home.
“It feels great to be coming home,” said Howard. “Go Blue!”