Coaching in the NBA is hard, even if you are one of the best college basketball coaches in the nation. It is something that basketball fans-especially ones in Chicago-are reminded of time and time again, and John Beilein is the latest example of an NCAA-to-NBA head coach to make a failed transition. On Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Beilein has resigned as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Charania later added that for the time being, Cleveland will reassign Beilein to an alternate role within the franchise.
Cavaliers are re-assigning John Beilein to a different role in the organization. https://t.co/uumaJYe2Jc
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 19, 2020
Beilein's NBA coaching career lasted 54 games. That's 216 games less than current Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg, who lasted 270 games with the Bulls after leaving the Iowa State program in 2015. Beilen's struggles were similar to Hoiberg's in that they both struggled to transfer their college coaching styles to the NBA, where they would be dealing with grown men rather than young college students. During Hoiberg's tenure with the Bulls, Jimmy Butler infamously called him out, stating that the Bulls needed to be "coached a lot harder at times." That incident notably looked a lot like the dispute that boiled over in a game this season between Beilein and Cavs center Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson vs. John Beilein on the Cavaliers bench... pic.twitter.com/xudS9WLezN
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) December 13, 2019
There was also an incident this season in which Beilein mistakenly referred to his players as "thugs" in a film session, which reportedly led to the team intentionally playing songs with the word "thug" in it, further exacerbating an already difficult situation.
In 2019, Beilein was one of the hottest coaching names in the business after another successful season at the helm of Michigan Wolverines basketball, who were coming off of an Elite 8 appearance after making the national championship game the year before. Beilein is now out of an NBA coaching job, and the Bulls' rivals in Cleveland are even more firmly entrenched in the rebuilding phase than they were before with relatively young (40 years old) J.B. Bickerstaff taking over.
The big takeaway here is that there is a lot more that goes into NBA coaching than X's and O's, and with player movement at an all-time high, college coaches are finding NBA roles more challenging than ever.
Beilein has three years and $12 million left on his Cavaliers contract, and sources have previously told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Cleveland and Beilein have agreed on a deal to pay him a portion of his 2019-20 salary. It has not been publicly stated what Beilein's new title within the Cavaliers organization will be.