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Ann Arbor – Michigan alums David and Meredith Kaplan have made a $7.5 million gift to endow the men’s basketball head coaching position, it was announced Thursday at the UM Regents meeting. The position, currently held by John Beilein, will be named the David and Meredith Kaplan Men’s Basketball head coach.

Michigan athletics has endowments for the athletic director, football head coach and football offensive and defensive coordinators.

The Kaplans’ gift, which includes funding for the head coaching position, the David and Meredith Kaplan men’s basketball endowed scholarship fund and athletic department facilities improvements, was approved by the Regents. The Kaplans have long been major donors to the university.

Kaplan is a co-founder of Ares and a Director and Partner of Ares Management and is a partner is and co-head of the Ares Private Equity Group.

"As an undergraduate senior in 1989, I was fortunate to have been a student during a historic year for Michigan athletics," David Kaplan said in a statement. "I was lucky to be present in Seattle for the culmination of what was an epic NCAA men's basketball championship run. Watching our team of diverse individuals come together as a group successfully running the tournament gauntlet instilled in me a lesson that I have carried throughout my adult life.

“As Coach (Bo) Schembechler so famously said a few years earlier, 'No man is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The team. The team. The team.' That basketball championship left an enduring mark on Meredith and me, and it is an absolute thrill for us to support Coach Beilein, a Michigan man who carries on that lasting message of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts."

Notable

More than 60 percent of Michigan’s student-athletes, 499, had grade-point averages of 3.00 or greater last semester, athletic director Warde Manuel said. There were 299 academic all-conference student-athletes -- both, he said, the highest total ever at Michigan.

Erik Bakich confirmed to The Detroit News on Wednesday he is remaining as baseball coach. Manuel told The News on Tuesday that a five-year contract – Bakich just finished his first five-year contract – was on the table as he considered an openings at South Carolina and Stanford. “I’m very happy that Erik has decided to stay,” Manuel said Thursday. “He’s done a tremendous job over the past five years, and I look forward to the future of baseball under his leadership.”

… Remember back in 2012 the brouhaha when the Michigan Marching Band wasn’t going to UM’s football opener in Arlington, Texas? Well, Michigan is opening the season again in Arlington at AT&T Stadium against Florida, and the band will be there. Manuel said the athletics department will pay for the band’s travel. “It’s not a big issue anymore,” he said. “It’s resolved.”

… The South Campus athletics construction project will be completed by December, Manuel said, and the football weight room will be done by January.

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