After an illustrious college coaching career, John Beilein discovered that his demanding coaching style — which led his college teams to 13 NCAA Tournaments and two Final Fours — didn’t translate well to the NBA. Just 54 games into the first year of a five-year contract, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially announced through a statement on their website that Beilein has resigned as the head coach, but he will remain with the organization in a different role.
J.B. Bickerstaff, who coached the Memphis Grizzlies from 2017-19 and joined Cleveland’s staff as an associate head coach with Beilein, will officially become the Cavs next head coach.
At 14-40, the second-worst record in the NBA, the Cavs played uninspired throughout Beilein’s tenure. We take a look at the timeline that has led to Beilein’s departure midway through his first season.
October 2019 — Training camp
In training camp, players reportedly tuned Beilein out for “overly harping his voice in film sessions, nitpicking fundamentals and showing an inability to adapt to the NBA’s offensive and defensive structures.” Beilein, on the other hand, felt “stunned by the culture of the modern NBA player.” According to Charania, Beilein didn’t understand why players sat out with minor injuries, struggled to grasp fundamental concepts and opposed long film and practice sessions. “Training camp was a disaster, and Beilein knew it,” Charania wrote.
Dec. 25, 2019 — Beilein wants Cavs to practice on Christmas Day
Beilein’s misunderstanding of NBA culture was evident within months of his first season. According to ESPN’s Jackie McMullan, Beilein considered making the Cavaliers. The plan was quickly squashed, but the mere idea is emblematic of the divide between Beilein and his players. College teams practice far more than their NBA counterparts and asking professionals to do so on Christmas was incredibly unrealistic to say the least.
Jan. 4, 2020 — Kevin Love’s outburst
Internal frustration increased with each passing loss — and resulted in an Kevin Love. On. Jan. 4, the veteran reportedly screamed at GM Koby Altman about his “displeasure and disgust” with the organization. On the same day, Love posted a picture on Instagram of Joaquin Phoenix forcing his face into a smile from a “Joker” movie scene. He also demanded a pass from Collin Sexton against the Oklahoma City Thunder, then got the ball and immediately swung it to Cedi Osman’s feet.from
Jan. 8, 2020 — The ‘thugs’ comment
Beilein likely sealed his fate with the Cavaliers days later. On Jan. 8, with Cleveland sitting at a dismal 10-27, he never really embraced his explanation.”. Beilein apologized the next day by saying he meant slugs, but Charania wrote the players “
Feb. 6, 2020 — Newly acquired Drummond says Cleveland ‘worse than Detroit’
The Cavs acquired Andre Drummond, and the former Pistons star quickly shared the team’s sentiment of Beilein. According to Charania, Drummond told his new teammates the situation in Cleveland was “worse than Detroit.”
Feb. 18, 2020 — Beilein agrees to step down as Cavs head coach
Beilein reportedly agreed to leave his post as head coach — and $12 million guaranteed — Tuesday because he “no longer felt suited for the job.”
His time in the NBA was disastrous, but Beilein’s college coaching resume is far from it. Beilein took all four Division I teams he coached to the NCAA Tournament, winning conference championships in each stop besides West Virginia. At Michigan, Beilein won Big 10 Coach of the Year in 2013-14 and developed NBA players such as Tim Hardaway Jr., Caris LeVert, Duncan Robinson and Moe Wagner.
Feb. 19, 2020 — In statement, Beilein says he’ll remain with Cavs in different role
After talks with owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Koby Altman, Beilein officially decided to resign as head coach of the Cavaliers Wednesday afternoon. However, in his statement, Beilein mentioned that he will take on a different role within the organization, but it was not disclosed what that would entail. Beilein cited the amount of losing the team endured through the first half of the season as one of the reasons he’s decided to part ways as the head coach, as it’s taken a toll on him and he didn’t want it to affect his health in the future.
With Beilein out, the Cavs will promote associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to the head-coaching position. Beilein supported Bickerstaff in his statement, saying that his decision to step down comes knowing that Bickerstaff is ready to take on the task of rebuilding the Cavs.