Juwan Howard Ecstatic After Leading Michigan Wolverines to #1 Seed As Both Coach and Player

Published 03/19/2021, 3:11 PM EDT
Mar 13, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard signals from the bench in the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


A lot of player-turned coaches find redemption after an unsuccessful player career. And similarly, a lot of successful players are unable to convert the same success into their coaching career. But Michigan Wolverines’ head coach Juwan Howard has ticked both columns.

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After six seasons as an assistant under Erik Spoelstra at the Miami Heat, Howard returned to his alma mater as the head coach. He had a slow start and took some time to settle in. But this year, in his second season, he has gotten off to a flyer. Howard led the Wolverines to the Big Ten title, their first in seven years.

Their excellent performances earned them the #1 seed in the East region. This made him the first person to play and coach for a #1 seed team in the NCAA tournament. In the 1992-93 season, the Wolverines were the #1 seed entering the NCAA tournament. Howard was part of the Fab Five, who had taken over the NCAA.

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During a recent interview with ESPN, Howard spoke about how it felt to achieve this feat.

He said, “My passion for Michigan runs deep. I’m truly maize and blue all the way. That experience as a player, that run, during those years, was some of the best years of my life. If someone would have said I would be the coach at Michigan, I would say they’re lying, or crazy, I’m not coaching.”

Can the Michigan Wolverines win their second NCAA title?

During his playing career, Howard suffered two painful Finals losses. So he will be hoping that his players don’t experience the same heart-break.

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The Wolverines enter the tournament as one of the favorites. But at the beginning of the season, no one would have expected them to be here. Both Howard and his players have worked hard to reach here, and they deserve the limelight. The big question now is whether they can live up to the hype?

Jan 6, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines bench celebrates a three point basket in the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

They have already received an enormous setback with the injury of Isaiah Livers. The senior forward was their second-best scorer all-season and started every game he played. That will be a tremendous loss for them, but the Wolverines will not stop fighting.

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If they are to go for the title, they will have to overcome some tough opponents like Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Iowa Hawkeyes potentially. All eyes will be on Howard and his boys as they aim to win their first NCAA title since 1989.

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Aaron Mathew

1527 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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