Juwan Howard isn’t ready to leave his alma mater, even if it means passing up a head-coaching job in the NBA. The long-time assistant coach for the Miami Heat will return for his third season at the University of Michigan, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojanoraowski.
Howard, a member of Michigan’s famed “Fab Five,” guided the Wolverines to a Big 10 championship in 2021 as they advanced all the way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. He took the job in 2019 after serving under Erik Spoelstra on the Miami bench for six seasons (2013-19).
Howard also spent three years in South Beach as a player where he won back-to-back championships for the Heat in 2012 and 2013. He was a fan favorite, as well as a mentor to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
“Juwan is an absolute star as a person, player and coach,” Spoelstra told reporters after Howard left Miami in 2019. “I feel he is more than ready. He is a terrific leader and mentor, which translates very well to the collegiate level. While we are losing a valuable member of our staff and a great friend, I am happy for him and his family. He will forever be a champion and part of the Heat family and I am excited to see him take the next step.”
Howard had been a leading candidate to interview for several NBA jobs, including the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics. He retired as a player in 2013 after recording averages of 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19 NBA seasons.
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Caron Butler Next Heat Star Assistant
Miami added another former Heat player, Caron Butler, to their coaching staff in November 2020. Butler only played there for two seasons but he never forgot his time with the franchise. He remained close with many in the organization, per NBA.com, and invited a large Heat contingent to his wedding several years ago.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel talked to Butler during this year’s playoffs to recap his first year on the bench. The 41-year-old still can’t believe he’s working for the legendary Pat Riley, the guy who made him the 10th overall pick in 2002. It hit him like a ton of bricks during Game 1 of their first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I had one of those moments where I was sitting back,” Butler told Winderman, “and I’m looking across, and I’m looking at Riles, like The Godfather, he’s right there, and looking to my left, my mom’s up there.
“So it’s crazy how life works,” he said. “And it’s crazy how things come full circle and I just had a ‘wow’ moment right there during the game. It hit me hard. It hit me hard. I was like, ‘Damn, I’m exactly where I need to be.’”
‘Big Three’ Stopped Talking to Each Other
There was a time in 2010 before “The Decision” in 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh weren’t talking to each other. No one was sure if James had officially decided to “take his talents to South Beach” and everyone was glued to the TV. Bosh had already signed on to join Wade in Miami and the expectation was James was on his way. It was a stressful time for everyone.
“It was making the move in the hopes that he would make the move,” Bosh said on the Real Ones. “It was so exhaustive, we stopped talking to each other; we couldn’t, it was the last thing that we wanted to talk about.”