Report: UM's Luke Yaklich interviews with Texas, Shaka Smart for opening
It appears John Beilein might not be the only Michigan coach on the move.
According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, assistant coach Luke Yaklich interviewed with Texas coach Shaka Smart for a vacancy on the Longhorns’ staff Thursday.
Yaklich, 43, has served as Michigan’s de facto defensive coordinator the past two seasons and receives much of the credit for turning the Wolverines into one of the best defensive teams in the country.
Michigan ranked third nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (90.5 points per 100 possessions) in 2017-18 and second (86.2 points per 100 possessions) this past season.
Yaklich, who has also played a vital role in recruiting, is viewed as a possible in-house candidate to replace Beilein after he accepted the head-coaching job with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. However, athletic director Warde Manuel made it known that experience is high on his list of requirements.
“If I can get a proven coach, someone who has a track record as a head coach,” Manuel said, “that’s what I’d like to see.”
Prior to his time at Michigan, Yaklich spent four seasons as an assistant at his alma mater Illinois State and coached high school basketball in Illinois for 14 years.
Yaklich and fellow Michigan assistants Saddi Washington and DeAndre Haynes were all on one-year contracts this past season, which ran through April 30, 2019. There’s no guarantee any of the three will be retained when a new head coach is hired, and the timing of Beilein's departure leaves them in a tricky position.
Smart, 42, has a 71-66 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons at Texas. Like Yaklich, he's regarded as a defensive coach and is best known for his "havoc" press defense he deployed during his previous stop at VCU.
Smart’s name has also been linked with the Michigan opening, but the Austin American-Statesman's sourced report indicated there have been no discussions between the two parties.