John Beilein’s wife Kathleen Beilein is just about the only constant in his life. Coaching will do that to a fella. But after his second final four appearance in the last few years, Beilein may have found a home for good.
Let’s talk about the journey to the Final Four
John Beilein, and John Beilein’s wife have had to endure many stops along their coaching journey which began in 1975. Beilein has been through 7 college coaching gigs in his career since the mid 70’s. The life of many professional athletes and coaches are filled with the looming threat of an immediate move, so it’s coaches like Beilein who need some sense of stability in his day to day life off the court.
Enter John Beilein’s wife Kathleen Beilein and the only constant in his life through every one of his seven college coaching jobs. John Beilein’s wife has given birth to their four children. Seana is the only daughter in the Beilein brood, with three brothers, Patrick, Mark and Andrew. Patrick has gone on to serve as the Director of Basketball Operations at Bradley University. Ironically, Bradley came to Ann Arbor to play Michigan where Patrick had previously served as a graduate assistant on his father’s staff for two years. While some might think that the rooting interest would be a conflict for Kathleen, rest assured it isn’t:
“Patrick knows how proud of him that I am for following his dream to be a college coach. But I will have to wear my maize and blue.”
Man, that’s crazy… my mom would definitely root for me! Kathleen did wind up rooting for the winners, as Michigan beat Bradley soundly 77-66 on December 22, 2011.
About that Michigan Plane Crash…
Beilein took the Wolverines to the Final Four in 2013 and again in 2018. Add in two Big Ten Tournament championships in 17 and 18, and Big Ten regular season titles in 2012 and 2014, and you have the picture of a successful college coach. Stability is here for now. But, even when things are stable, there’s turbulence.
Earlier in his career, Kathleen Beilein worked as a flight attendant in the early 80’s. Which is why Kathleen knew something was wrong leading up to the Michigan team charter which skidded off the runway last spring. This article does an incredible job talking about that day and how it’s changed the Beilein family.
It was March 8, just after 2:50 p.m., when the pilot of the MD-80 twin-engine jet carrying most of the U-M basketball program pushed the throttle forward. The plane began to roll, faster and faster, until it reached 174 m.p.h., and the pilot eased back the yoke.
Kathleen, who’d been a flight attendant in the early 1980s, sensed trouble.
“We’re not lifting off!” she said to Beilein, who was sitting next to her, holding her arm. “We’re not lifting off!”
One second passed. Then another. And another. With each tick, the speed increased, and the runway got shorter. Finally, as the plane roared over 190 m.p.h., the pilot had a decision to make.
John Beilein is a man who demonstrated that he cares about his team as people first, and players second. It’s an incredible portrait of a coach who’s spent 40 years climbing the ranks. Success on and off the court comes to good people like John and Kathleen Beilein.