On Monday, the school and Beilein acknowledged he is leaving Michigan without saying where he is going. Beilein offered his thanks in a tweet.
Beilein reached a deal with the Cavaliers on Sunday and informed Michigan’s administration of his decision to leave for the NBA on Monday morning, sources said.
The Cavaliers have been using the term “culture driver” internally when discussing the possibility of hiring Beilein, sources said. He’s considered one of the elite offensive tacticians and teachers in basketball, a coach who has never been an assistant and climbed almost every level of basketball — coaching high school, junior college, Division III, II and I. The final step in an odyssey that has brought him an 829-468 college record has been the NBA, and now Beilein makes the leap.
Thanks to everyone at the Univ of Michigan for their incredible support these last 12 years. Our fans , alums , leaders, players and students are AMAZING It has been a heck of a ride and I hope you enjoyed our teams and staff as much as I did !Go Blue Forever ! #GoBlue
— John Beilein (@JohnBeilein) May 13, 2019
He led Michigan to two Final Fours and four Big Ten tournament and regular-season titles in his 12-year run in Ann Arbor.
Beilein, 66, has entertained thoughts about the NBA for several years and had detailed discussions with two franchises — the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons — last year before deciding to return to Michigan.
Beilein didn’t want to move himself and his wife far from Michigan, and the Pistons’ borderline playoff roster with little financial flexibility to make changes made staying in-state less appealing. Cleveland’s rebuild status, with point guard Collin Sexton and a 14 percent chance — along with New York and Phoenix — to earn the No. 1 pick in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery appealed to Beilein.
He is expected to join the Cavs’ front office and ownership in Chicago for the draft lottery and combine this week.
Beilein replaces Larry Drew, who finished last season after Tyronn Lue was fired six games into the campaign. Lue won a title with the team in 2016, but LeBron James left in free agency before last season, prompting an accelerated rebuild.
Cleveland general manager Koby Altman had long been intrigued by Beilein, and his assistant GM, Mike Gansey, has a close relationship and history with Beilein. Gansey played under Beilein at West Virginia, advancing to the Elite Eight with him as a player. Owner Dan Gilbert lives and works in Detroit and, despite his Michigan State loyalties, has long admired Beilein’s work. Beilein has been assured — even encouraged — that the franchise wants him to install his value system with the Cavaliers.
Talks with the Cavaliers had been running concurrently with the franchise’s search, which culminated with four final first-round interviews on Saturday in Denver, sources said.
The Cavaliers plan to surround Beilein with an experienced staff of NBA assistants, sources said.
Beilein has run model programs in college, free of scandal and impropriety. In recent years, he has become increasingly frustrated with the nature of college basketball recruiting and the retention of top players. The impending loss of Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis along with senior Charles Matthews and sophomore Jordan Poole to the NBA draft dented what might have been a national championship contender.
Beilein’s son, Patrick, was recently hired as the coach at Niagara University, which is about a 3½-hour drive from Cleveland.