Now that Juwan Howard has been named new head basketball coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines, will this signal the rebirth of the Fab Five?
In one, full-circle swoop, Howard accepted a five-year deal starting at $2 million. He also interviewed with the Cavaliers, Lakers and Timberwolves. Howard takes over from John Beilein, who’ll be the new head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michigan has been a top basketball program under Beilein.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the University of Michigan’s storied basketball program,” Howard said. “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 to for me to leave Miami; however, I know in my heart this is the right place and the right time.”
A date with destiny
Howard was a member of one of the most famous recruiting classes which included Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Howard, who went on to be an All-American, helped lead the Wolverines to back-to-back NCAA National Championships in the early 90’s.
Four McDonald’s All-Americans in one recruiting class was unheard of at that time. The record stood until 2013, when six McDonald’s All-Americans were part of the 2013–14 Kentucky Wildcats’ team.
The Fab Five legacy has diminished to off-court benefits, but as the nation has become more understanding of player needs, the Wolverine faithful hope Final Four Banners return to their rafters.
Under Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley’s leadership since 2013, Howard has been an assistant coach with the Miami Heat. He was the fifth pick by the Washington Bullets.
Howard was in the league 19-years, playing for the Dallas Mavericks, Washington Bullets, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Bobcats and Portland Trail Blazers before joining the Heat in 2010.
The Wolverines hope Howard can bring that Fab Five flavor back to UM. Beilein certainly established Michigan as a top program, but now Howard has been brought on to win the championships that escaped him as a college player.
His time as a top player at the school and a successful run in the NBA should bring top recruits to the land of the Maize and Blue.