Michigan fires Juwan Howard after five seasons

Juwan Howard's tenure as Michigan men's basketball coach is over. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

Juwan Howard left at Michigan.

The Wolverines announced Friday that they are parting ways with the legendary Fab Five. Howard has been Michigan's head men's basketball coach for the past five seasons.

“After an extensive review of the program, I have decided that Juan will not return as our men's basketball coach,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “Juan is one of the best Wolverines to ever join our basketball program. I know how much it means to have him back here to lead this program, not only to Juan, but to all of us. Despite his love for his alma mater and the positive experience our student-athletes have had under his leadership, the program has not met our expectations. It became clear to me that I was not living up to it and was not moving in the right direction.

Michigan finished over .500 in each of Howard's first four seasons with the school, going 8-24 in 2023-24. The Wolverines made two NCAA Tournament appearances and an 87-72 record during Howard's tenure.

The Wolverines finished the 2023-24 season with nine straight losses. The team's last win came at Wisconsin on Feb. 7, and the season ended with a 66-57 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday. The nine-game losing streak ended the season, the third streak of at least five in a row.

It's been a busy season off the court as well. Former strength coach John Sanderson left the school and is now at Illinois following the December clash with Howard. Sanderson's severance settlement with Michigan reportedly included an undisclosed clause.

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The altercation came after Juan's son, Jace Howard, allegedly got into an argument with the trainer. Jays Howard didn't play this season until Jan. 15 because of a stress fracture in his leg, and Sanderson described what happened in an email to Manuel the next day.

From Athletics:

Sanderson wrote that Jace Howard “tormented” the coach and caused a “scene” that prompted several players to stop and watch. Sanderson described the scene as “totally out of control” and said he was trying to calm down coach Jayce Howard and discuss the matter privately. Seeing the coach growing increasingly desperate and “panic,” Sanderson intervened and yelled at Howard from about 30 feet away: “You're a student athlete and he's a professional. You don't talk to a professional like that. It's disrespectful and entitled.” He repeated that the displeasure was “honourable”.

Sanderson wrote in an email to Manuel that he tried to defuse the situation and turned his back and walked away. When Sanderson turned around, Juan Howard repeatedly yelled that he was “angry and ready to fight” as players and staff held him back.

Juwan Howard missed the first 10 games of the season after undergoing heart surgery in September. Howard returned to the team on December 16 after Bill Martelli served as the team's interim coach.

Howard returned to Michigan after being an assistant coach with the Miami Heat from 2013-19. He played the last three seasons of his 19-year NBA career with the Heat after he was selected by the Washington Wizards with the No. 5 pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. The Chicago native played three seasons at Michigan and turned pro when he graduated after his junior year. Michigan made the Final Four in each of Howard's first two seasons and lost in the Elite Eight in 1994.

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