John Beilein and his Wolverines are set to take on Jay Wright and his Wildcats on Monday, April 2. If the University of Michigan can pull out a win in tonight’s game, it will be their first NCAA tournament victory since 1989. The two teams will meet in center court at 9:20 p.m. Eastern. The game will air on TBS.
Throughout his coaching career, Beilein has had the love and support of his wife, Kathleen. The two met in the late 70s.
Kathleen worked as a school teacher before becoming a flight attendant. She then dedicated her life to raising her four children, all of whom are now grown.
She and John currently live in a lake house on Michigan’s coast.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Met John in the Late 70s & They Got Engaged After a Year of Dating
Kathleen went on her first date with her now-husband back in 1977. He took her to the movies — they saw The Other Side of Midnight — before grabbing a late-night bite. Kathleen spoke to MLive about her relationship with John, and mentioned that the two had an instant connection and chemistry that simply couldn’t be denied.
“It was almost like we had known each other for a long time, if you’ve ever had that opportunity to meet that someone. It just seemed like, wow. How did … ? What … ? What just happened? It was what you wanted it to be,” she told the outlet.
The two dated for about a year before John decided to propose. When it comes to getting engaged, Kathleen told MLive that she’d prefer to keep the details of the proposal private.
The two wed and started their lives together in Syracuse, New York.
2. She Is a Mom of 4 & Has 3 Grandchildren
Kathleen and John Beilein welcomed their first child, daughter Seana, in 1979. Seana attended the University of Richmond, where she studied education. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, not too far from her mom and dad, with her husband, Ryan Hendricks, and their three children, Finley, Johnny, and Charlie.
Kathleen and John welcomed their son Patrick in 1983. Patrick Beilein attended West Virginia University, where he played on the school’s basketball team when his dad was the coach. Falling in love with the sport — and following in his dad’s footsteps — Patrick has gone on to pursue a career in basketball. He is currently the head coach over at Le Moyne College.
In 1984, Mark Beilein was born. Like his brother, he attended West Virginia University. According to his LinkedIn page, he holds a marketing job for a non-profit organization.
Kathleen and John’s youngest son, Andrew, made their family complete in 1990. The youngest Beilein received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. After graduation, he moved to Washington D.C., where he currently works as the Director of Government Relations at Business Roundtable.
3. She Used to Be a Teacher & Later Became a Flight Attendant
When Kathleen met John, she was working as a school teacher. Just a few months after meeting John, Kathleen left her job working with special-needs children to become a flight attendant.
Taking the job with United Airlines meant that she’d have to relocate to Chicago, which really put her relationship with John to the test — but they managed to work things out. According to MLive, “Kathleen would hop aboard planes heading to upstate New York for a free ride home on her off days.”
Thankfully, the two didn’t have to do the long-distance-relationship thing for too long. United Airlines ended up transferring Kathleen to Buffalo a few months later.
4. She Has Been Credited With Keeping the Family Together
Over the years, John Beilein switched jobs, moved around, and tried his hardest to fulfill his life-long goal: To be a successful head coach of a basketball team. It wasn’t easy, through the years, for him to keep up with his career while being a husband and a father.
Much of the stress fell into Kathleen’s lap, but she handled it wonderfully. Her kids have spoken very highly of how she kept the household going through it all.
“She’s the captain. I don’t know how she’s done it because it wasn’t easy in the beginning. When anyone thinks anything is tough now, she’s the one who puts it back into reality and reminds everyone what they had to deal with back then,” Patrick Beilein told MLive.
5. She & John Were in a Plane Crash in 2017
On March 8, 2017, John and Kathleen Beilein were on a plane on their way to the Big Ten tournament. The wind was gusting outside the window of the MD-80 as the Michigan basketball team, coaches, and families waited on the tarmac.
The plane was set for takeoff, but as it raced down the runway, something didn’t seem right. It had been taking a really long time for the plane to lift — and the Beileins noticed.
“We’re not lifting off,” Kathleen said to her husband, according to the Detroit Free Press. Kathleen was right. Approaching the end of the runway, the pilot “hit the brakes.”
“The plane began to slide, beyond the pavement, onto the grass, over a fence, stopping short of a stand of trees and a ravine. The crash could’ve been much worse. Beilein realized that immediately. He was alive, after all. And it’s hard to quibble with that.”
Everyone was able to get off the plane and the team took a bus to their destination the next morning.
Several weeks later, Kathleen and John managed to get away for a few days. The two talked about the frightening crash and expressed just how thankful they are that it wasn’t much worse.
“The best thing we took from it is gratitude,” Kathleen told the Detroit Free Press.