Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard said that he will stay at Michigan in a statement responding to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Howard has been gaining traction in NBA front offices as a potential head coaching candidate.
“While I am flattered, and know it will more than likely happen again, I am not exploring, seeking or listening,” Howard said. “I am the head coach at the University of Michigan.”
The NBA buzz surrounding Howard is not surprising; he interviewed for coaching positions with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers before taking the job at Michigan. His strong 19-year stint as a player and successful transition into assistant coaching in the NBA both make him a strong candidate.
This already-impressive resume was likely only bolstered in the eyes of front-office executives by Howard’s impressive first year at Michigan. Howard showed level-headed – but still animated – leadership over the course of a season that saw junior forward and top scorer Isaiah Livers struggle with lingering injuries, a suspension of star senior point guard Zavier Simpson, and postseason cancellations due to the coronavirus. Despite these and other significant roadblocks, Howard led the Wolverines to a solid 19-12 overall record.
But Howard’s decision to stay in Ann Arbor is also somewhat unsurprising. He was visibly emotional in the opening press conference when his hire was announced, especially when his old jersey was brought out. He has moved his family to the Ann Arbor area, put his younger children in schools in the area, and brought his son Jace onto the team with a scholarship.
“This is where my focus is,” said Howard. “We have goals, dreams, and championships to win.”