For those that missed part one, click here.
For a new guy that doesn't have many ties to the area, new Michigan headman John Beilein is doing a great job becoming one of the guys. In his brief tenure in charge of the Wolverines he has made it a priority to get out on the road, be visible, and build relationships with the high school coaches in the state. Prior to his hire the biggest question about him was would he be able to successfully recruit his home territory. While the answer to that question has yet to be determined, it is already clear that he is willing to put forth the necessary effort… and he is off to one heck of a start.
Over the past few weeks Beilein has met with the Detroit Public School League Coaches Association, traveled to Saginaw to meet with a triumvirate of coaches there, stopped over in Flint last week, and also made individual stops at Detroit Country Day, Orchard Lake St. Mary's, and Detroit Redford. That kind of personal interaction was what many of the coaches mentioned as a big key when he was hired. His visits, however, were only the first stage of fostering those relationships. His plan to continue that growth process not only consists of his continued presence, but also of his policy of opening practices so that the coaches can come and see how he operates. His efforts thus far have not been lost the coaches he is trying to connect with, including Detroit Redford headman, Ken Flowers.
“Coach Beilein was very sincere about what he was talking about," Flowers said. "I am looking forward to going to one of the open practices that he will have. Coach Beilein is a straight forward guy and I like that."
Flowers was particularly impressed by Beilein's visit to his school. At that point he gained a better appreciation for the kind of guy his Manny Harris' next coach is.
“He came up to meet the administration and some of the other coaches up at Redford," Flowers said recalling the visit. "He spent about half the day at our school. It was good that he came up. It’s very important for the kids to see him. They watch TV and see him, but it's always better in person. This will help him in recruiting."
Flowers isn't the only one that has appreciated Beilein's early efforts. While canvassing the top high school coaches for their initial reaction to his hire, Saginaw Arthur Hill coach Greg McMath ended an interview by saying, “Coach Beilein needs to come and see me. We need to talk.”
When Beilein actually made his way to Arthur Hill as part of his three-school tour of Saginaw a few weeks back (which also included stops at Saginaw High and Saginaw Buena Vista), McMath was excited about what he believes is a change for the better when it comes to his interaction with the Maize & Blue.
“We have not had a relationship with Michigan for a long time, and it was nice that Coach Beilein came out to see us," said McMath. "It was big for him to come and meet the administration. He stayed for a couple of hours during school to see how we operate at Arthur Hill. I thought that was very important. Coach is a straight shooter. He is good. My staff liked him as well. Coach understands what he has to do. He is going to be good for Michigan."
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more Coaching reaction to Beilein's tour in the days to come.