Michigan fires coach Howard after 8-24 season



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Juwan Howard was fired as Michigan’s men’s basketball coach, the school announced Friday, ending a five-year run in Ann Arbor for the former Fab Five member.

Michigan just completed one of its worst seasons in 60 years, finishing last in the Big Ten for the first time since 1966-67. The Wolverines lost their final nine games, including Wednesday’s Big Ten tournament defeat to Penn State, to finish 8-24 overall and 3-17 in the league.

“After a comprehensive review of the program, I have decided that Juwan will not return as our men’s basketball coach,” athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “Juwan is among the greatest Wolverines to ever be associated with our basketball program. I know how much it meant, to not only Juwan, but to all of us for him to return here to lead this program. Despite his love of his alma mater and the positive experience that our student-athletes had under his leadership, it was clear to me that the program was not living up to our expectations and not trending in the right direction. I am thankful for Juwan’s dedication, passion and commitment to U-M and for all that he, and his legacy, will continue to mean to Michigan.”

Michigan owes Howard $3 million, sources told ESPN.

Howard underwent a scheduled heart procedure in September to resect an aortic aneurysm and repair an aortic valve, forcing him to miss the start of Michigan’s season. He returned to the bench during the Wolverines’ trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis as an observer, before transitioning to an assistant coach role for two weeks. Before he returned as head coach, he was also involved in an incident at practice with strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson, an altercation for which he avoided any discipline.

He officially returned to the bench as head coach on Dec. 16 against Eastern Michigan. After beating the Eagles to improve to 6-5 on the season, Michigan won just two games the rest of the way.

While Howard’s time at Michigan ended in disappointment, he showed significant promise early in his college coaching career. Hired in 2019 to replace John Beilein, who had left for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Howard guided the Wolverines to a 19-12 record in Year 1 and would have gone to the NCAA tournament had it not been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year 2 brought Michigan’s first NCAA tournament No. 1-seed since 1993, as Howard and the Wolverines won their first Big Ten regular-season title since 2014. They made a run to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA by two points. Howard had Michigan back in the Sweet 16 the following season, despite an underwhelming 19-15 overall record.

Howard was suspended for five games in February 2022 for hitting Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft in the face after a game. During the postgame handshake line after Wisconsin’s 77-63 win, Howard and Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard exchanged words before being surrounded by players and coaches. In the ensuing scrum, Krabbenhoft exchanged words with Howard and then Howard reached out and struck Krabbenhoft’s face.

Things began to go downhill last season. Despite having All-American Hunter Dickinson and two first-round NBA draft picks in Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard, Michigan missed the NCAA tournament after losing its final three games to finish 18-16 overall.

In Howard’s five seasons at the helm, Michigan went 87-72.

A former star recruit who was a member of the famed Fab Five, Howard earned All-America honors and helped lead Michigan to back-to-back national championship games. He spent 19 years as an NBA player, winning two NBA championships with the Miami Heat and being selected as an All-Star in 1996. Following his retirement, he was an assistant coach for six seasons with the Heat.



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