In the span of just five days, the Michigan men’s basketball team is down to one assistant coach.
Scout.com’s Brian Snow reported Sunday afternoon that assistant coach Billy Donlon has accepted a similar position at Northwestern. Donlon, the former head coach at Wright State, was hired by the Wolverines just last May.
The Chicago Tribune reported Friday that Wildcats head coach Chris Collins was trying to lure Donlon away from the Wolverines, due to Donlon’s deep ties to the Northwestern program. Donlon is a native of nearby Northbrook, Ill. and longtime friend of Collins, and his father spent seven years as an assistant coach of the Wildcats.
And as it turns out, Collins was successful.
"We are obviously disappointed to be losing Billy, however, we are happy he has the opportunity to be closer to his family, home and still coach in the Big Ten," said Michigan coach John Beilein in a press release. "He is one heck of a coach who has been a great asset to our program over this past year. Over many years, Billy has sacrificed his family for coaching basketball. This time he chose his family first and no one can fault him for that.
"We have had very talented coaching staff's during my time here. That will not change. We have always embraced sudden change and have gotten better from it. I am excited to have this opportunity to bring in two new assistants who will bring us even more success in the future. The Team, The Team, The Team. Go Blue!"
Donlon’s departure comes after assistant coach Jeff Meyer announced Tuesday he was leaving Michigan to join the coaching staff at Butler. Unlike Donlon, Meyer had nine years with the Wolverines prior to his departure.
With Northwestern’s hiring of Donlon, Beilein will now have to fill two vacancies on his coaching staff for a second offseason in a row. Saddi Washington, who joined the staff along with Donlon last summer after being hired from Oakland, is the sole returning assistant for next season.