ROSEMONT, Ill. — When John Beilein shook the college basketball world with his sudden decision to leave Michigan in May, the impact was felt beyond Ann Arbor and Cleveland.
Most of the country woke up to the news, with ESPN’s initial report coming before sunrise on the East Coast. After preaching a family culture throughout his decade-plus with the Wolverines, Beilein’s players and staff learned of his decision the same way everyone else did.
It didn’t take long for the ripple effects to reach College Park. When Maryland coach Mark Turgeon heard of Beilein’s departure, he thought back to a phone call he received from Beilein two weeks earlier. After one of Turgeon’s assistants left for a head coaching vacancy at Morgan State, Beilein called him to put in a good word for his three assistants — Saddi Washington, Luke Yaklich and DeAndre Haynes.
Knowing the trio was seasoned under Beilein’s lauded basketball mind, Turgeon’s interest was piqued. So when Turgeon first heard of his counterpart’s exodus, he phoned Washington. The two had a productive conversation, culminating in an agreement to check in again once the new head coach formed his staff.
Just over a week later, Juwan Howard was hired as Beilein’s successor. It took him about a month to finalize his staff, but Turgeon waited patiently. Howard retained Washington as the lone holdover, while defensive mastermind Luke Yaklich left for an associate head coach position at Texas.
Haynes, on the other hand, was left in limbo. Shortly after, he connected with Turgeon.
The first time they spoke, Turgeon knew he’d found his guy.
In his two years under Beilein, Haynes coached the backcourt and plotted offensive strategies. Still only 35 years old, he most recently worked closely with senior point guard Zavier Simpson and former Michigan guard Jordan Poole. With Terrapin guard Anthony Cowan Jr. returning for his senior season and junior guard Darryl Morsell looking to take the next step, Turgeon would’ve been hard-pressed to find a better fit.
Since arriving at Maryland, Haynes has proven it. When Cowan was asked about Haynes’ early impact at last week’s Big Ten Media Day, his eyes lit up.
“That’s my guy,” Cowan said. “Definitely, as soon as he walked in, it clicked for us immediately. He’s definitely helping our team out tremendously and like I said, we clicked as soon as he got on campus and we started getting work done immediately.
“With DeAndre, one thing Michigan had that a lot of people really don’t look at too in-depth is Michigan’s spacing was awesome. That’s what made their offense really good and that’s something that he’s helping me and helping us with.”
For Cowan and Morsell, Haynes’ personality has made all the difference.
“The first thing I realize about (Haynes) is he seems like a great family man,” Morsell said. “He and his wife had their kids around, and that just shows you what type of individual he is and what he values. He’s been a great help for us. He’s like the coach I’ve never had since I’ve been in college. I’ve definitely enjoyed his time since he’s been (at Maryland). From the perspective that he played and had success while he was playing, he brings another dimension. He’s great with film. He’s a great coach all around.”
Added Cowan: “Just as a person, (Haynes) relates to his players really well. I think he’s a player-person and a players’ coach. He’s someone that I really do trust in terms of basketball knowledge.”
With fall practices in full swing, Turgeon has also taken notice of Haynes’ immediate impact. A former Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, Haynes learned the rigors of leading an offense at Kent State from 2002-06. He returned to the Golden Flashes as a coach prior to spending a year at Toledo before joining Michigan’s staff.
But that’s a figment of the past at this point. The same group of players he coached to the Sweet 16 a year ago has become his competition — and vice versa. Now, he’s making strong impressions in the early stages of his role on a new staff.
“(Haynes) is a classy guy, he’s a family guy, he relates well to the players,” Turgeon said. “He’s a really good basketball coach, my players really like him. He’s really hard-working and he works smart, so it’s been a really good addition.”