Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Michigan's Beilein Has Strong Ties to Syracuse's Boeheim

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Michigan's Beilein Has Strong Ties to Syracuse's Boeheim

Article excerpt

ATLANTA A friend John Beilein asked the Michigan coach this week if he would wear orange underwear when the Wolverines played Syracuse the Orange in the Final Four on Saturday.

Though Beilein left upstate New York in the late 1990s to become coach at Richmond, he traces his roots to the area particularly Rochester, located about 90 miles from Syracuse. He was born in Burt, a small town on the western edge of New York.

As Beilein was climbing through the coaching ranks with jobs at small colleges in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo during the late 1970s and early '80s, he developed a relationship with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.

Beilein learned the finer points of the 2-3 zone defense that Syracuse essentially has patented during Boeheim's 37 years there. Their relationship was instrumental in Beilein beginning to make a name for himself in the early 1990s.

"We became great friends during that time and I have had great respect for him," Beilein said. "Along the way, he assisted me a great deal in actually getting my first Division I job at Canisius College. I believe he had something to do with me going to the Big East at West Virginia. He was very instrumental. I followed him and respected him very much."

Beilein moved beyond Boeheim and beyond the 2-3 zone, eventually abandoning it for the 1-3-1, then the man-to-man defense he employs with the Wolverines. He hasn't completely put Boeheim in his rearview mirror, though, because for all of his success, Beilein has never beaten the Orange.

Boeheim has bested Beilein in each of their nine meetings, most when they opposed each other in the Big East. The only other Division I school Beilein has coached against more than twice without winning is Xavier (0-3).

It's odd that Beilein hasn't figured out a way to beat Boeheim, because Beilein almost always figures these things out. …

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