During the coaching search for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seemed as though the team was leaning towards hiring a young first time head coach. Most of the candidates fit that description with a few exceptions (looking at you Ettore Messina). So when the news broke that John Beilein would be the next head coach, some questioned whether or not Dan Gilbert stepped and influenced the selection.
With Gilbert’s ties to all things Michigan, it seemed like a logical leap for some to think that he had some influence.
Gilbert clarified in his interview with Terry Pluto that Koby Altman was the one that brought up the idea of hiring Beilein. Altman had set up a panel of eight front office executives, who unanimously were in favor of hiring the Michigan coach:
“All eight loved him,” said Gilbert. “All eight wanted to hire him. They were polled individually. That caught my attention. This was a week before I met with John.”
Gilbert went to meet Beilein in Ann Arbor at his home on May 10th.
“I asked him, ‘If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?’” said Gilbert. “Most people say, ‘I’m a workaholic…I’m a perfectionist.’ They rarely admit to anything they really need to change.”
But Beilein told Gilbert, “I sometimes make things a little too complicated. I have too many plays.”
That endeared Beilein to Gilbert: “I appreciated that answer. It also shows self esteem.”
So a few things here. One, it’s good to hear that it was Altman that lead the charge for hiring Beilein. Secondly, the anecdote about Beilein understanding he’ll need to be more flexible in the NBA is really encouraging.
Hopefully with the hire of Bickerstaff and Beilein’s self awareness, it’ll assist in a quick and successful transition to the NBA. The direction of the team next season won’t be clear for a few more months, but having the right organizational structure and support in place is an important piece in turning things around.