The position of Michigan basketball coach is one that has been a very tough gig for anyone who takes the reins of this very troubled program.
Since their national championship season in 1989, the Michigan program has been at the center of most scandals in college basketball.
The team was at the top of the college landscape during the Fab Five years when they were led by future NBA superstars Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, and Juwan Howard. The team was a national title contender during those years, however were never able to win the big one.
However, these teams were marred by controversy after these players left for the NBA. It was reported that these players were given large amounts of money by boosters and alumni.
This being highly illegal and almost assuredly puts these teams on probation in the following years.
After an investigation into the inappropriate loans given to these players, the Michigan basketball team was forced to forfeit over 100 games during the 90’s, including the 1992 and 1993 final four appearances. They also were placed on probation for four years and during this time they had the scholarships they could give to high school players reduced.
Since the scandal was discovered, the Michigan basketball team has not returned to the NCAA tournament.
As can be seen the position of Michigan coach is one that is an uphill battle in recent years. Steve Fisher was the coach during most of the scandals and a lot his accomplishments have been erased due to the NCAA imposed infractions. He resigned from position of Michigan coach in 1997 amid the allegations.
After Fisher resigned, the position of Michigan basketball coach was filled by assistant coach Brian Ellerbe. In Ellerbe’s first year he led the team to the NCAA tournament (later removed from record books due to infractions), since then they have yet to return to the Big Dance and have been unable to even sniff the same success they had in the early 90’s Ellerbe was so unsuccessful as head coach, he was replaced by Tommy Amaker. Amaker had very little success during his 6 years as the Michigan basketball coach.
He had better success that Ellerbe, however, was never able to lead the team back to NCAA Tournament.
His most successful season came in 2004 when he led the Wolverines to the NIT Championship, a much lesser recognized postseason tournament. After a very lackluster run as Michigan Basketball coach, he was fired following the 2007 season and replaced by John Beilein.
Beilein struggled mightily in his first season as head coach. Leading the team to a 10-22 record, this was the team’s worst performance since the early 1980’s. However, the team has seen resurgence during the 2008-09 basketball season, helped by the fact that this is their first year off of probation.
The team has defeated two Top 5 teams during the season and is possibly looking ahead to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998.