Hours after his name was mentioned as a possible candidate for NBA openings, Juwan Howard said thanks, but no thanks.
Michigan's head coach said Monday that he is not pursuing NBA jobs after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Howard's name was "gaining traction" among league executives.
"There was a report of my name as a potential candidate for NBA coaching opportunities," Howard said in a statement released through the school. "While I am flattered, and know it will more than likely happen again, I am not exploring, seeking or listening. I am the head coach at the University of Michigan! I am blessed to be working at the greatest university in the world. I am blessed to be guiding a group of wonderful young men. We have goals, dreams & championships to win! This is where my focus is. GO BLUE!"
Howard's 2021 recruiting class is ranked ninth on ESPN.com despite five-star prospect Isaiah Todd's decision to decommit and take the G League route. The group is led by four-star grassroots teammates Hunter Dickinson and Terrance Williams.
Howard's statement, which he also posted on Twitter, followed the ESPN report about potential interest at the next level. Howard was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat prior to his return to Michigan, where he played from 1991 to 1994.
Since his arrival last year, Howard has emphasized his commitment to extending the record of success the program experienced under John Beilein. Howard is already a force on the recruiting trail, and his squad beat both Gonzaga and Creighton, two national title contenders, prior to an up-and-down Big Ten season.
While Howard seems determined to remain in Ann Arbor, he wouldn't be the first college coach to reverse course after making a similar statement. Amid rumors about his future, Matt Rhule said "I certainly think I will be" the head football coach at Baylor on New Year's Eve.
The Carolina Panthers hired Rhule as its head coach a week later.