Beilien Focused On Illini , Not Football Hire

While John Beilein is aware of an impending hire of Jim Haurbaugh, his focus has been on facing Illinois on Tuesday. He also gives his insight on the job Jim Hackett has done and more.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With the imminent hiring of Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, lost in the shuffle is the Wolverines’ basketball game on Tuesday versus Illinois. During the game it’s expected the university will introduce him to the sold out Crisler Center crowd.

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein, however, is focused on his next opponent -- and not Michigan’s next hire.

“I think there is enough going on in my life trying to beat the University of Illinois tomorrow to even worry about that,” Beilein said. “I think we have a great crowd regardless of whether we have a coaching announcement. I know everyone is looking forward to filling that position, moving forward with it, and so that we can sort of plan. If it’s part of ours, it’s tremendous. If it’s not, guess what? It’s still going to be a great game.”

Interim athletic director Jim Hackett has been the front man on the hiring of Harbaugh. It looks like he will deliver with the hire, although, with little contact with Michigan’s basketball coach, Beilein says.

“We’ve had so little contact since he came here because of this,” Beilein said. “One of his initial jobs was to hire a new coach. So we’ve had some contact. He’s kept me in the loop a little bit on what’s going on. I would probably get fired if I told you what’s going on. He has kept me in the loop just enough.” Beilein added he expects to hear more from Hackett n the near future.

“ I think he and I will talk,” Beilein said. “He has certainly done a good job thus far. I think everybody is excited about how he sort of in a very difficult time handled all this adversity.”

With the hire of Harbaugh, does having a strong football program benefit the basketball program?

“It’s obviously tangible number one,” Beilein said. “because when you’re filling the arena you are helping all of our sports here. Filling the stadium you have so many great things going. I think you see the energy on campus. It’s really great for recruiting to bring people in on recruiting weekends, with people just watching. It is very important.”

Beilein continued: “I have no doubt with all that is being said with the change in football coaches in the time that I’ve been here. We’ve been every year like it’s new year, ‘let’s go, let’s go.’ It is really important to all of the sports. We are one of the few universities that is really strong in both sports over time. And we want to keep that tradition without question. And trust the people that are going to hire our next coach that this is going to be another to enhances us to be complete in every sport.

“Football, obviously, is to every university that depends so much on its spirit, revenues, ect.”

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