The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

March 30, 2007

Beilein to meet with Michigan?

MORGANTOWN — It was inevitable that John Beilein’s name would pop up in connection with basketball coaching openings at Division I schools.

Andy Katz of ESPN.com wrote Thursday that Michigan is expected to meet with the West Virginia University coach this weekend in Atlanta.

Of course, that would be after the Mountaineers finished playing in the National Invitation Tournament in New York.

Katz, a senior writer for ESPN.com, was merely pinpointing time and place of what others had been speculating.

Last week Jim Carty of the Ann Arbor News had urged in a Web site commentary that Michigan hire Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, who was fired.

After talking to two assistant coaches, one who’s still in the Big East, Carty sounded convinced that Beilein was the best qualified for that job.

“Beilein is the best choice,” he wrote. “The best coach. ...

“The search isn’t Beilein or bust, but it’s close. Close enough that it’s hard to imagine (UM athletic director Bill) Martin finding someone who’s a better fit.

“And even harder still to find someone who’s a better coach.”

Sources close to WVU have said athletic director Ed Pastilong has maintained dialog on a regular basis with Beilein as well as football coach Rich Rodriguez.

Reached in New York, where he has been attending the NIT Final Four, Pastilong told ESPN he hasn’t heard from Michigan and that he expects Beilein to remain at West Virginia.

“We’ve got a nice young team; we’ve had nice success; and we’ve got good facilities and a nice school and good fans,” he was quoted. “I like what he’s doing.”

It’s generally thought that the $2.5 million buyout clause in Beilein’s contract remains a hang-up. That is believed to have kept him from moving to North Carolina State a year ago.

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