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Top 10 University of Michigan basketball coaches of all time
Steve Fisher coached Michigan to six NCAA Tournament appearances and a national title. (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

Top 10 University of Michigan basketball coaches of all time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (BVM) — The University of Michigan men’s basketball program has featured numerous winning coaches through the years. These are the 10 greatest in Wolverines history.

10. Cappy Cappon (1931-38)

In seven seasons at U of M, Cappon won 78 and lost 57 games. The Wolverines notched five winners in total during his run. Cappon would go on to have major success in more than two decades at  Princeton following his stretch at Michigan.

9. Tommy Amaker (2001-07)

Amaker’s record at Michigan was 108-82 (.563). The Wolverines tallied four winning seasons in six years with him as head coach. That includes a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) crown in 2004. U of M topped 20 wins three times through his tenure with the team.

8. George Veenker (1928-31)

Veenker won 35 of 47 games (.745) over his time in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines went 13-3 his opening season to claim a Big Ten regular season title. He gave U of M basketball new hope at the onset of the Great Depression.

7. Juwan Howard (2019-present)

The former Fab 5 star returned to Ann Arbor and now leads the next generation at U of M. Howard has already racked up several coaching awards. They include 2020-21 Big Ten Coach of the Year and  2020-21 AP Coach of the Year. His team advanced as far as the NCAA regional final that year.

6. Dave Strack (1960-68)

Over eight years leading the Wolverines, Strack logged a 113-89 record. Plus he added three NCAA Tournament appearances, with two Final Four bids. Strack’s 1964-65 squad closed at No. 1 in the final AP poll for the season. He claimed the UPI Coach of the Year award for his efforts.

5. E.J. Mather (1919-28)

All of Mather’s nine years except one at Michigan were winners. His mark at U of M was 108-53, good for a .671 win percentage. In those nine years, Mather captured three Big Ten regular season crowns. He coached three consensus All-Americans on the Wolverines.

4. Johnny Orr (1968-80)

Orr was 209-113 (.649) overall with the Wolverines. U of M received four NCAA Tournament nods in his 12-year tour there. In 1976, they reached the NCAA Tournament’s title round under his guidance. Orr culled four consensus All-Americans at Michigan and took home NABC Coach of the Year honors in 1976.

3. Bill Frieder (1980-89)

Frieder would post a 189-89 win-loss total through nine seasons at Michigan. In 1984-85 he seized the Big Ten Coach of the Year and the AP Coach of the Year awards. He put together a string of six consecutive 20-win seasons to end his career at U of M. He also registered four NCAA Tournament visits before his unceremonious exit in 1989.

2. John Beilein (2007-19)

Beilein appeared in nine NCAA Tournaments with U of M. The Wolverines would advance to the Final Four twice in that span. What’s more, he bagged Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2013. The team won 30 games on three occasions during his Michigan career, including the last two seasons in a row.

1. Steve Fisher (1989-97)

Fisher served as an assistant and then filled in for Frieder to begin the 1989 NCAA Tournament. U of M reeled off six straight wins to take college basketball’s top prize. He would become the school’s new head coach and make six additional trips to the Big Dance. Those trips include back-to-back tourney championship games.