John Patrick Beilein (/ˈbiːlaɪn/ BEE-lyne; born February 5, 1953) is an American professional basketball coach. He most recently served as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Prior to joining the Cavaliers, he coached the Michigan Wolverines (2007–2019), West Virginia Mountaineers (2002–2007), Richmond Spiders (1997–2002), Canisius Golden Griffins (1992–1997) in NCAA Division I as well as Le Moyne College (1983–1992), Nazareth College (1982–1983) and Erie Community College (1978–1982). Beilein has won 754 career games at four-year universities and 829 games altogether, including those at the junior college level. Beilein’s overall career wins counting the time spent in Cleveland is 843 games.
Beilein was raised in Burt, New York. He is the eighth of nine children of a millworker and an apple farmer. His mother's cousins were the inspiration for Saving Private Ryan, and two of his uncles (Tom and Joe Niland) were lifelong basketball coaches in the Western New York area. Beilein attended DeSales High School in Lockport, New York. He went on to attend Wheeling College (now Wheeling Jesuit University) where he competed on the school's basketball team from 1971 to 1975 and served as team captain during the 1974–75 season. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1975. After graduating, Beilein returned to Western New York where he began his coaching career at Newfane High School in 1975. He remained there for three years. Beilein went on to earn a Master of Science degree in education from Niagara University in 1981.
Beilein was the only active collegiate coach to have achieved 20-win seasons at four different levels—junior college, NCAA Division III, NCAA Division II, and NCAA Division I. Beilein is one of only six Division I coaches with 700 or more career wins. He has been recognized as conference coach of the year five times: in 1981 at Erie Community College, in 1988 at LeMoyne, in 1994 at Canisius, in 1998 at Richmond, and in 2014 at Michigan. In addition, Beilein was the seventh of only ten coaches to have taken four different schools to the NCAA Division I Tournament. He is known for his attention to details, focus on fundamentals and knack for developing under-the-radar players. Beilein is also widely respected in collegiate sports as one of the cleanest and most rule-abiding coaches. In a poll conducted by CBS in 2017, Beilein was voted the cleanest coach in college basketball, gathering 26.6% of the votes vs. the next highest candidate's 10.5%.
Beilein has never served as an assistant coach; he has held head-coaching positions throughout his career. He served as the coach of Erie Community College from 1978 to 1982, Western New York's Division III Nazareth College in Rochester, New York for the 1982–1983 school year, and Le Moyne College from 1983 to 1992. Le Moyne was a Division II contestant in the Mideast Collegiate Conference (MCC). Beilein first applied to coach Division I basketball at Canisius in 1987, but he was not hired. During his time at Le Moyne, he held annual coaching clinics that welcomed coaches and athletes. Beilein was named the 1988 MCC Coach of the Year, when his team finished as co-conference champions with a 21–5 regular season record and number 14 national ranking. The team tied with Gannon University with an 8–2 conference record. Although it was Beilein's third 20-win team at Le Moyne, they had never gone to the NCAA tournament before. The team captured the conference post-season tournament after receiving a first round bye. As the number three seed, they faced the number one seeded California University of Pennsylvania in the NCAA Division II Eastern Regionals. They lost their first-round game to fall to a 23–6 record, but won the consolation game against Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.
The MCC disbanded following the 1990–1991 season. In Beilein's final season at Le Moyne, the team was an independent team unaffiliated with a conference. The team was scheduled to join the New England Collegiate Conference for the 1992–1993 season. After his first application for the job at Canisius, Beilein had tried to land other Division I jobs at schools such as Colgate University, where he had been a finalist in 1989. In 1992, he was finally hired to a Division I post at Canisius.
During the 1991–92 season, Canisius compiled an 8–22 record prior to Beilein's arrival. In 1992, he arrived at Canisius College as head coach for the 1992–93 season, and was able for the first time to hire assistant coaches. A Western New York native, he had grown up a Canisius basketball fan because his uncle, Joe Niland, had been a former player and coach there. At Canisius—his first Division I coaching position—Beilein reached the NCAA Tournament once and the NIT twice in his five seasons.
By helming the 2012–13 Wolverines, Beilein reached his sixth season with the same team for the first time. Beilein achieved several milestones with the 2012–13 Wolverines: 650th win as a college basketball head coach (December 4 vs. Western Michigan), 100th win as head coach at Michigan (December 8 vs. Arkansas), 400th Division I win as a head coach (January 9 vs. Nebraska) and his best career start (December 15 vs. West Virginia). The 400th win came on a night when Michigan achieved its 16th straight victory which tied the school record for best start. Michigan went on to record its first 19–1 start to a season in school history. On January 28, Michigan was ranked number one in the AP Poll with 51 of the 65 first place votes. It marked the first time Michigan ranked atop the AP Poll since the 1992–93 team did so on December 5, 1992. John Beilein was selected as an assistant coach for the 2013 World University Games. In the 2013 NCAA Tournament, fourth-seeded Michigan defeated South Dakota State, 71–56. in its South Regional opening game, and in so doing the team matched Beilein's career high with 27 wins. Michigan then surpassed this record, and continued to advance, by defeating fifth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth, 78–53 and top-seeded Kansas, 87–85 before beating third-seeded Florida 79–59 to send Michigan to the Final Four for the first time since 1993. In the 2013 Final Four, the Wolverines defeated East region champion Syracuse, 61–56, to advance to the national championship game against Louisville, which they lost, 82–76. During the following offseason, Bleacher Report named Beilein the most creative coach in college basketball. During the offseason, Beilein signed a second contract extension through the 2018–19 season, raising his annual salary to $2,450,000.
During the 2005–06 season, West Virginia won its first eight Big East conference games and entered the top ten in the 2005–06 national rankings in February. It was the first time West Virginia had ranked in the top ten in the Coaches' Poll, which had been created in 1993. They were the final unbeaten team in conference play. After the strong start, the team lost four of its next five games to fall to 9–4 in conference play. They won their next two games to clinch a first-round bye in the 2006 Big East Tournament. With seemingly little to play for, they lost their regular season finale to finish with a 20–9 (11–5 Big East) regular season record. West Virginia lost its quarterfinal round game in the conference tournament to Pitt, and earned a number six seed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. West Virginia won its opening weekend games against number eleven seed Southern Illinois and the number fourteen seed Northwestern State Demons by 64–46 and 67–54 margins, respectively. West Virginia then lost in the Sweet Sixteen round to the number two seed Texas Longhorns in a wild finish that saw West Virginia erase a five-point deficit in the final fourteen seconds only to lose the game on a buzzer-beater. The two wins helped Beilein raise his NCAA tournament record to 6–4.
In 1995–96, the team also was led by a MAAC Player of the Year, Darrell Barley. Beilein coached the 16–10 (7–7 MAAC) team to the conference tournament championship to earn a berth in the 1996 NCAA Tournament despite the absence of the injured Barley for the tournament. Canisius earned a thirteen seed and matchup against the fourth-seeded Utah Utes in the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1957. Utah defeated Canisius in the game, 72–43.
In 1997, Beilein moved to become the coach of the Richmond Spiders. There, he compiled a 100–53 record in five seasons, recording a winning record each season, and again reached the NCAA tournament once, where his 14th-seeded team upset third-seeded and nationally ranked South Carolina. His teams also reached the NIT twice.
Dan Dakich was hired at West Virginia (WVU) of the Big East Conference and then quit 8 days later. In April 2002, Beilein accepted the head coaching position at WVU. At WVU he posted a 104–60 record over five seasons. In the 2004–05 season, WVU went 24–11 and reached the "Elite Eight" (fourth round) of the NCAA tournament. The following year, WVU went 22–11 and reached the "Sweet Sixteen" (third round). In 2006–07, Beilein's Mountaineers, despite losing about 80% of their scoring from the previous season, went 27–9 and won the NIT championship.
In 2004–05, Beilein's team entered the 2005 Big East Tournament with an 18–9 record as the eighth seed and as a team on the bubble for the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The team won its opening-round game against number nine seed Providence 82–59, its second-round game against number one seed Boston College 78–72, and its third-round game against number four Villanova 78–72. West Virginia lost the conference tournament finals to Syracuse 68–59, but it earned a seven seed in the NCAA tournament against number ten seed Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference. The loss gave Beilein his fifth loss in as many games against his mentor Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who had helped him acquire each of his first three Division I coaching positions. In the NCAA tournament, West Virginia beat Creighton 63–61 with a defensive stop and fast break dunk in the final five seconds. West Virginia then defeated the number two seed Wake Forest team led by Chris Paul in double overtime 111–105. In the Sweet Sixteen round, West Virginia defeated Bobby Knight's number six seeded Texas Tech 65–60. In the elite eight round, they lost 93–85 in overtime to Rick Pitino's number four seeded Louisville, who were led by Taquan Dean and Larry O'Bannon. With the three wins in 2005, Beilein raised his career NCAA Tournament record to 4–3.
Beilein's second Michigan team, the 2008–09 Wolverines took a significant step forward. On November 20, the unranked Wolverines upset #4-ranked UCLA, recording their first win over a top-five team in eleven years. On December 6, Michigan posted its second win of the season over a top-five opponent in a rematch against #4 ranked Duke. The Wolverines reached the top 25 in the national rankings on December 22, its first appearance since the February 6, 2006. On February 26, Michigan defeated the #16-ranked Purdue team 87–78, raising its record to 3–4 against ranked opponents on the season. At the conclusion of the 2008–09 Big Ten season, Michigan was given a seven seed in the 2009 Big Ten Tournament. A win over Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament on March 12 was the Wolverines' twentieth of the season. With that win, Beilein had achieved a 20-win season at seven different schools, including four at the Division I level (Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia, Michigan). Three days later, Beilein's Wolverines earned a bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, the school's first appearance in 11 years. There, tenth-seeded Michigan defeated the seventh-seeded Clemson Tigers 62–59 before losing in the second round to Oklahoma 73–63.
On April 3, 2007, the University of Michigan announced that it had hired Beilein to fill its coaching vacancy. He replaced Tommy Amaker, who was fired after failing to reach the NCAA Tournament in his six seasons. Beilein inherited a Big Ten Conference team that was in the final year of a scholarship reduction due to the involvement of former players in the Ed Martin scandal, in which NCAA rules had been violated. The team struggled to a 10–22 (5–13) record during the 2007–08 season.
The 2017–18 Wolverines won the 2018 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament to claim their second consecutive Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament championship. They became the first team to win consecutive tournament championships since Ohio State in 2010 and 2011. On March 24, Michigan defeated Florida State 58–54 in the West regional finals of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. With the win, Michigan advanced to the Final Four for the eighth time in program history and set a single-season program record with its 32nd victory of the season, surpassing the previous record of 31 wins set by the 1992–93 and 2012–13 teams. After outlasting Loyola Chicago in the Final Four game, they fell to Villanova in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game.
Beilein's first Division I head coaching position was at Canisius, a hometown school of which he had been a fan. He turned around the school's losing program and helped it earn two National Invitation Tournament (NIT) bids and one NCAA Tournament appearance in five years. Next, at Richmond, he reached the NCAA Tournament once and NIT twice in five years. He moved on to West Virginia, where his teams reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament twice, and also twice went to the NIT, including one championship. At Michigan, where he became the school's winningest coach, he won two Big Ten regular-season championships, two Big Ten Tournament titles, and in the NCAA Tournament twice advanced as far as the national championship game. He has a 26–13 career record in the NCAA tournament, with championship game appearances in 2013 and 2018, as well as a 13–6 record in the NIT.
During the Wolverines' 2016–17 season Beilein achieved several milestones: 750th career win as a head coach (December 22 vs. Furman), his 200th career win as head coach at Michigan (January 4 vs. Penn State), and his 500th career Division I win as a head coach (February 22 vs. Rutgers). Beilein became the second coach in program history to reach 200 wins with the Wolverines, joining Johnny Orr, who was the all-time leader with 209 until Beilein surpassed him with a win over Illinois on March 9, 2017 at the 2017 Big Ten Tournament. Michigan went on to win its next three games to achieve its first Big Ten Tournament title since its 1998 title that has been vacated. With wins over 10th-seeded Oklahoma State and 2nd-seeded Louisville, the Wolverines advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
In June 2017, Beilein's title was renamed as the David and Meredith Kaplan Men's Basketball Head Coach at Michigan. UM alums David Kaplan and his wife, Meredith Kaplan, gave a $7.5 million gift to the University of Michigan Athletic Department for funding for the head basketball position and other items.
Following their late season burst and strong tournament play, the 2018–19 Wolverines were ranked number 18 in the Coaches' Poll and number 19 in the AP Poll to start the season. With a victory over Norfolk State on November 6, 2018, Beilein earned his 800th career win as a head coach. In the third game of the season, Michigan defeated Villanova 73-46 in a rematch of the 2018 national championship game. Michigan went on to win its first 17 games of the season, which included wins over ranked North Carolina, Purdue, and Indiana teams. In doing so, the 2018–19 team set the school record for most wins to start a season (surpassing the 2012–13 and 1985–86 teams by a game) and tied the 1984–85 team for most consecutive wins altogether. Michigan finally lost on January 19 to Wisconsin but shared the distinction of being the last undefeated team in the country with Virginia. After finishing the regular season 28-6, the Wolverines defeated Montana and Florida in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to clinch their second straight 30-win season (a first in school history) and third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. Beilein finished his career at Michigan with a 278–150 record in 12 seasons as head coach, including two trips to the national title game, two Big Ten titles and two Big Ten Tournament titles.
On May 13, 2019, Beilein was named head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), signing a five-year contract.
Beilein was inducted into the Canisius Sports Hall of Fame on September 24, 2019, for his tenure and success with the program.
On February 19, 2020, Beilein resigned as the head coach of the Cavaliers, with the team stating that he "will be reassigned to a different role within the organization". Beilein became the third first-year head coach since 1990, after Jerry Tarkanian of Spurs (1992–1993) and Randy Ayers of 76ers (2003–2004), to coach the season opener without completing the season.