John Beilein led the Wolverines to the Big Ten regular-season title in 2013-14. (Steve Perez / Detroit News)
After leading the Michigan to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the title game in 2013 and the Elite Eight last season, coach John Beilein continues to gain respect among his coaching peers.
Over the past few weeks, ESPN has been ranking the top 50 college basketball coaches, according to a panel of 45 experts in the sport.
Beilein is ranked No. 9.
Beilein, 61, is in his seventh season at U-M and is in mini-rebuild mode after losing Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III — all potential first-round picks — to this week’s NBA draft.
Two other starters from the Final Four run, national player of the year Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. — also first-round picks — left after the 2012-13 season.
In 36 seasons, Beilein has compiled a 701-412 record, including Big Ten titles in two of the last three years.
“It took Beilein a lifetime to get to where he is now: indubitably successful, at the head of a well-funded high-major program, in charge of a tenacious group of assistant coaches and recruiters,” ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan wrote. “And now, finally, the rest of us are getting to see just how good he really is.
“It’s a strange thing to say about a 61-year-old man, but it feels like his career has only just begun.”
In the rankings, Beilein finished ahead of Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (No. 12), North Carolina’s Roy Williams (16th) and two former Michigan coaches — San Diego State’s Steve Fisher (18th) and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker (22nd).
Among Big Ten coaches, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan have not been ranked yet and presumably are in the top eight (a new coach is revealed each day). Ohio State’s Thad Matta (No. 20), Nebraska’s Tim Miles (No. 32), Iowa’s Fran McCaffery (No. 33) and Minnesota’s Richard Pitino (No. 49) also were ranked.