John Beilein makes Cavaliers resignation official: Losing took 'much bigger toll' than expected

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/cleveland/" data-ylk="slk:Cleveland Cavaliers">Cleveland Cavaliers</a> head coach John Beilein made a statement making his resignation official. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein made a statement making his resignation official. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Cleveland Cavaliers made the news official late Wednesday and announced head coach John Beilein has resigned as head coach of the organization.

The team is reassigning Beilein, in his first season as the Cavs head coach, to a different role, the team announced.

Cavaliers assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff will take over as head coach without the interim title, as was reported Tuesday. The Cavs return from the All-Star break for a Friday road game against the Washington Wizards.

Beilein reiterated in a statement it was his decision to resign his position. He’s walking away from a contract that consists of four guaranteed seasons at a salary of between $4 million and $4.5 million, per Shams Charania and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

Beilein: Losing took a bigger toll than expected

Beilein, 66, took the job in the offseason after more than 40 years of coaching at the college and high school level. He most recently coached at Michigan since 2007.

He said in a statement he decided it was “best that I step back and resign” as head coach and “assist the organization in a different capacity.”

Via the Cavaliers release:

“This was a very difficult decision for me, but I want to be clear — this was my decision to step down and I truly appreciate the understanding and support of the front office during this time. I find losing very challenging and this year has taken a much bigger toll on me than I expected. I grew concerned for the consequences this toll could potentially take on my own health and my family’s well-being down the road. I was not certain I could be at my best for the remainder of the season and in the future. That would not be fair to the players, coaches and support staff.”

Beilein added he would not have done so if he Bickerstaff wasn’t “ready and capable” to become the head coach.

“For 45 years and more than 1,300 games, my journey as a basketball coach has been a dream come true. I have never been afraid of a challenge and have given each one my all — sometimes to the detriment of my own well-being. I want to thank my wife, Kathleen, for being by my side and I appreciate the outpouring of support from family, friends, and colleagues during this time. I look forward to being able to spend more time with my wife, kids and grandchildren over the coming months.”

Beilein’s son, Patrick, resigned as head coach of the Niagara University men’s basketball team 15 days before the season opener having never coached the squad. He cited “personal reasons that I can no longer take lightly.”

Beilein’s Cavaliers tenure short and rocky

Players reportedly took issue with Beilein’s college approach to the game, citing “nitpicking over basic fundamentals” in a December piece in The Athletic. They also didn’t approve of the animal terminology he used to name plays.

Later in December he got into a heated exchange with Tristan Thompson that led to the player’s benching. They later smoothed it over.

He apologized to individual players in January for calling his players “thugs” in a film session, saying he meant to say “slugs” to call them out for moving slowly. In a report just this week by The Athletic, players responded to that by trolling the coach with “thug”-themed hip-hop music when he was within earshot.

Bickerstaff takes over as coach for 3rd time

Bickerstaff, 40, has served as interim coach for the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. He’s 85-131 as a head coach over three seasons and came to the Cavaliers last summer.

Cleveland (14-40) is last in the Eastern Conference and has the most losses of any team except the Golden State Warriors (12-43).

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