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Monday, April 02, 2007

My antennae are scouring every available surface; nothing yet. A helpful commenter points out Wojo's Detroit News version of last night's Freep story with an interesting addendum/correction:

U-M athletic director Bill Martin has targeted Beilein all along, and according to two sources, Beilein, 54, appears very interested in the job.
Last night that read "appears willing to take the job," so the News has backed off a phrasing that implied he was going to take the offer. The Ann Arbor News has a blog entry from last night in which Martin plays dumb:
"I have not reached agreement with any candidate on a contract at this time," Martin wrote.

Martin dismissed published reports Beilein was in Ann Arbor Sunday.

"On the record, not true," Martin wrote.

Other than that, the only thing I've got is another Scout board post from EERhole (who was cited as a credible source of information during the Rodriguez chaos by 'Eer doubters and was referenced in a post Saturday):
I didn't post over the weekend because I just didn't have anything to add. Maybe I am coming down with an EERinfection.

What we do know -- as others have reported -- is that the offer was made. The belief is that he is/was in Michigan and we should (stress should) know something by noon today. Michigan would like to have a coach before the Final Four is over. None of this is anything that hasn't been reported, but I can confirm the same.

As of right now, it does not look good (neither did the Coach RR situation at this point in the process). I got my Q-tips out and am cleaning my EERhole so maybe I can hear better today.

Stay tuned.
(I am enjoying the ear metaphor this guy's got going on. An insider with style. ) Noon would be in, like, 50 minutes so maybe he's off on that. "It does not look good" looks good to me, though. Will update as information comes in.

Update: The same WVU board has been asking for the wise guidance of "mexman" from time to time. He has chimed in thusly:
Hasta luego Señor Beilein. Gracias por todo y buena suerte en Michigan!

This is Spanish -- it seems all these WVU insiders have schticks -- that translates as "Goodbye Mr. Beilein. Thanks for all and good luck at Michigan. SHIT!" for anyone who took some sort of commie language in high school. You have to respect the insider of information of anyone who can drop alt-164 (seriously: try it).

The result of this is the same sort of thing that you get on the Michigan boards when a confirmed insider drops some bad news. He has a follow-up:
This time it is 100% educated hunch. Just feel like the stars are aligned for his departure. Certainly hope not but I have a terrible feeling. We will not do better than John Beilein.

All of the info giving me the feeling comes from credible sources but nothing specific in the last day or so. MOTS, basically. WVU guys are freaked and getting towards resigned but no one wants to come out and be definite. I think we're good. Again, FWIW, but long experience in these situations has taught me that the wise guys on the internet are usually ahead of the curve. I'm a bit leery that the guys who have posts I can read are providing dark, vague mutterings instead of something concrete -- even Señor Mexman says his projection is an "educated hunch" -- but that's all we have to go on now.

Update II: Fox Sports chimes in:
West Virginia coach John Beilein is close to leaving for Ann Arbor. Beilein, 54, who is coming off an NIT title earlier this week, has been offered the Michigan job and the two sides are close to reaching an agreement, according to sources close to the situation.

The holdup that may remain is a hefty $2.5 million buyout of his contract.

Can't see the buyout -- which has been a known fact since Beilein's name came up for the first time -- being a major hurdle at this point. If they're negotiating over who's paying what, what they're really negotiating is salary, and it's unlikely Michigan will have the balls to balk over a couple hundred K what with a decade of futility and Tubby Smith and the lack of a plan B.

Update III: I hope this EERHole guy knows what he's talking about. The latest:
Sorry for not posting play by play like I did during the CRR situation. Early this afternoon, the Beilein camp has "gone dark" and is not returning calls from members of the WVU athletic department. It appears he is not interested in negotiating with WVU - despite the fact that he was made a nice offer several days ago. As we have not heard from Beilein, I cannot say whether he will stay or go - but it does not look good.
There are other indications that WVU has gone as far as they are willing to with their contract offer and -- since that offer was made several days ago and the reports about the Michigan offer came afterwards -- his unresponsiveness to WVU AD calls is a great sign. Reading between the lines it appears that Beilein and Martin are very close to an agreement and that West Virginia is being shut out of the process, unable to make a counter-offer. I think the chances Beilein is announced as Michigan's coach in the next couple days are creeping above 75%.

Disclaimer: obviously this is all speculation from an outsider, so take it FWIW.