Michigan Fires Men's Basketball Coach Juwan Howard After a Last-Place Finish in the Big Ten

By Garrick Hodge on March 15, 2024 at 2:30 pm
Juwan Howard

Michigan men's basketball will join Ohio State in searching for a new coach this offseason.

Athletic Director Warde Manuel fired Juwan Howard on Friday after the Wolverines finished last in the Big Ten in Howard's fifth season in Ann Arbor. Michigan had its worst season in decades, finishing 8-24 and going 3-17 in Big Ten play. Howard finishes his tenure with an 82-67 record (48-47 in conference) and two NCAA tournament appearances.

"After a comprehensive review of the program, I have decided that Juwan will not return as our men's basketball coach," Manuel said in a statement provided by the university. "Juwan is among the greatest Wolverines to ever be associated with our basketball program. I know how much it meant, to not only Juwan, but to all of us for him to return here to lead this program."

Per the Detriot Free Press, Howard will be owed a $3 million buyout. 

Howard's turbulence in his Michigan tenure didn't extend to just wins and losses. In 2021, Howard had to be physically restrained on the court when he charged at then-Maryland coach Mark Turgeon in the second half of a Big Ten Championship game, which led to his ejection. 

One year later, Howard smacked Wisconsin assistant staffer Joe Krabbenhoft in the face after a skirmish broke out in the postgame handshake line, which led to a five-game suspension and $40,000 fine. 

In December, Howard and longtime strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson were involved in a spat that stemmed from Howard yelling at Sanderson after the strength coach told senior forward Jace Howard to stop berating a trainer. Sanderson filed an HR complaint and moved elsewhere in the athletic department before eventually leaving to take a job at Illinois this month.

Howard also battled health issues, undergoing open heart surgery in September. 

"Despite his love of his alma mater and the positive experience that our student-athletes had under his leadership, it was clear to me that the program was not living up to our expectations and not trending in the right direction," Manuel said. "I am thankful for Juwan's dedication, passion and commitment to U-M and for all that he, and his legacy, will continue to mean to Michigan."

Michigan and Ohio State now both have vacancies in their men's basketball programs, with OSU reportedly focused on hiring either Dusty May or interim coach Jake Diebler, per The Columbus Dispatch.

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