This isn’t really the culmination of a dream or a plan or of anything. It’s not the end. Michigan basketball earning a No. 1 ranking for the first time in a generation certainly is an endorsement of its present course but, as coach John Beilein said Sunday, the Wolverines would prefer the championships that are decided on the floor.
And yet Michigan’s ascent to the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll does serve to underscore the wisdom of hiring Beilein from West Virginia back in 2007.
He’d been a curiosity before taking the Michigan job: always a head coach, never an assistant, certainly not one of those men who used recruiting prowess either to get started or to climb in the business. He started the way few college coaches do now, taking a high school job and winning enough to move to a community college, then to small colleges and later to mid-majors Canisius and Richmond, which then was in the Colonial Athletic Association. At the age of 49, he at last got his big break to coach in the Big East at West Virginia.