2023-24 Season

Juwan Howard fired after five seasons at Michigan

The Juwan Howard era is officially over in Ann Arbor. Howard is out in Ann Arbor after five seasons in charge of the program.

Here’s the full statement that Michigan released:

Warde Manuel, the University of Michigan’s Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, announced Friday (March 15) that a leadership change would be made in men’s basketball with the David and Meredith Kaplan head coach Juwan Howard not returning next season.

“After a comprehensive review of the program, I have decided that Juwan will not return as our men’s basketball coach,” said Manuel. “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.”

During his five seasons in Ann Arbor, Howard has compiled an 82-67 record, with two NCAA Tournament (2021 & 2022) selections as well as a postseason NIT appearance (2023). Capturing the 2021 Big Ten regular-season title (14-3) under Howard, the Wolverines had four straight 10-plus Big Ten win seasons as he tallied a 48-47 mark in conference play. In 2021, he was named the Associated Press National Coach of the Year as well as the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year. He also coached six Wolverines who went on to be selected in the NBA Draft, including three top-15 picks.

Howard returned to his alma mater for his first head coaching position after spending six years on the staff with the NBA’s Miami Heat. After spending one season in player development following his retirement, Howard was elevated to an assistant coach in 2014-15, working under Erik Spoelstra for the next five seasons. Prior to getting into coaching, Howard had an accomplished 19-year NBA career, which was capped off with back-to-back NBA titles (2012 & 2013) while playing with the Miami Heat.

As a member of the famed “Fab Five,” Howard spent three seasons (1991-94) in Ann Arbor playing for head coach Steve Fisher. A two-time All-American (1993, ’94), Howard closed his U-M career with 1,526 points (15.3 ppg) and 745 rebounds (7.5 rpg).

A national search will begin immediately.

Howard’s tenure in Ann Arbor was a roller coaster. The early days were shrouded in mystery and excitement with high-profile recruitments and a Battle 4 Atlantis Championship, only to be stopped in their tracks by COVID-19 canceling the season.

Howard’s second season was his best. He was named National Coach of the Year, and the Wolverines went 23-5 (14-3 Big Ten), won the Big Ten title, and reached the Elite Eight despite a late-season injury to Isaiah Livers.

The Wolverines made the Sweet 16 in Howard’s third season, but cracks in the program’s foundation began to show. Howard received a six-game suspension for striking a Wisconsin assistant coach in the handshake line, and the Wolverines underachieved for much of the season before the postseason run.

Michigan missed the NCAA Tournament in 2022-23, falling a couple of games short despite a roster featuring two first-round draft picks and an All-American big man. Things went sideways from there when Hunter Dickinson transferred out of the program, Caleb Love failed to transfer in, and the Wolverines entered the year with a roster woefully short on talent.

A pre-season heart surgery sidelined Howard for weeks, and negative headlines started to build. Starting point guard Dug McDaniel was suspended for six road games due to academic issues, and long-time strength coach Jon Sanderson left the program mid-season after a practice incident with Howard.

The results on the court were worse than any controversy off of it. Michigan finished 8-24 (3-17 Big Ten) in its worst season in decades and only won two games after Christmas.

During his tenure, Howard had more success than most coaches who are fired after five seasons. He raised a Big Ten banner and made the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament twice, but the current state of the program became increasingly difficult to ignore over the last 24 months.

From the organization to the roster, Michigan’s program was in need of drastic changes to return to relevancy, and now that will be someone else’s job to figure out.

Notable Replies

  1. kturnup

    Warde’s statement is good. That’s how I feel

  2. goblue8

    Won’t lie the official news hit me a bit different, just a different level of disappointment that this did not workout unlike amaker, rrod hoke etc.

  3. BigBoutros

    we told u guys it would not be a resignation.

  4. hack

    Wow. I’m sad for Juwan, though he made his own bed here.

  5. DMB43

    Thank you for everything Juwan! Saddened it couldn’t work out :blue_heart::yellow_heart:

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