ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan has hired former Fab Five great Juwan Howard as the new head basketball coach.
The deal is for five years.
Howard, who beat out Michigan assistants Luke Yaklich and Saddi Washington for the job, will be a head coach for the first time after spending the better part of the last six years as an assistant for the Miami Heat.
Fab Five career
As a member of perhaps the most famous Michigan basketball team ever, Howard is a well-known name in the Wolverines fan base. He was a member of the best recruiting class in school history in 1991 and played with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson as a member of the Fab Five.
Howard helped lead Michigan to the 1992 and 1993 national championship games. He was an All-Big Ten first-team selection as a junior in 1994 before heading to the NBA.
In three seasons with Michigan, Howard averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and two assists per game. He shot 51 percent from the floor and 68.8 percent from the free throw line in 100 career games. As a senior, Howard scored 20.8 points per game while shooting 55.7 percent and chipping in 8.9 rebounds per game.
He left Michigan after racking up 1,526 points, 745 rebounds and 202 assists.
Howard played 19 season in the NBA, winning championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 and making the All-Star team in 1996. He played for the Washington Bullets and Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Bobcats, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat from 1994 to 2013.
He went straight from one end of the bench to the other in 2013, hanging up his jersey in favor of a suit when the Heat named him an assistant coach.
Howard wasn't a superstar in the NBA, but he averaged a solid 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 1,208 career games. He shot 46.9 percent from the floor.
While he's never been a head coach and hasn't been part of the college game in 25 years, Michigan believes Howard can continue what John Beilein built in Ann Arbor.
Over the last nine seasons, Michigan has been to the NCAA Tournament eight times, making three Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight and two national championship games. Beilein also won two regular season Big Ten titles and two Big Ten Tournaments over that span.
Howard will have returning starters Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske to lean on, along with last year's valuable sixth man Isaiah Livers. Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis declared for the NBA draft, and top signee Jalen Wilson decommitted when Beilein departed.
With three open scholarship spots, Howard will need to get right to work on filling out the roster for next season.
It's unclear if Yaklich, Washington or DeAndre Hanyes will stay on as assistant coaches. They were all critical pieces of the culture Beilein built over his 12 years at Michigan.
Fab Five controversy
While the Fab Five was perhaps the most famous college basketball recruiting class of all time, it came with a stain on the university's history.
The Final Four banners have been removed from the rafters of the Crisler Center, and the accomplishments were vacated due to players accepting money from boosters.
For years the members of the Fab Five had no direct contact with the university. In 2013, when Michigan made the national championship game in Atlanta, Howard joined Rose and King in the stands to cheer on his former team.
Webber, who was not only considered the start of the team, but also the center of the scandal, was in the press box for the championship game. He only recently returned to the University of Michigan campus as an honorary captain for a football game.
Howard was also among the players featured on ESPN's "Fab Five" documentary, the most popular 30 For 30 episode in the series.
Former teammates show support
Howard's former Fab Five teammates were vocal about their support for him during the hiring process.
Webber spoke with Michigan graduate Rich Eisen on his show:
Rose talked about why Michigan should hire Howard on his ESPN show, "Jalen & Jacoby" this week:
King also endorsed Howard during the ChadTough Foundation Gala over the weekend, saying his former teammate would be "the best guy" for the job.
LeBron James and Dwayne Wade also jumped in to support Howard late Tuesday night.
Talk to me nice. Say it is so!!!? My guy deserves this opportunity. This will only be right https://t.co/TWWH4UuiTZ— DWade (@DwyaneWade) May 22, 2019
Man WHAT!!!!?? Absolutely the right choice and i hope it becomes a done deal ASAP!! One of my favorite people I’ve ever met at the age of 16 and been around since then. 🙏🏾 https://t.co/hdmF60odnm— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 22, 2019