"The opportunity to go to the University of Michigan was a great opportunity, but I also cherished what I had at West Virginia," the 59-year-old Wolverines coach said. "Sometimes you can't have both of those opportunities so you have to make one of those decisions.
"I loved to rebuild programs and thought hopefully I could do one more and the University of Michigan ended up being that choice. When people say to me, 'You have better recruiting classes,' I never say those things because the people who rank those things don't know what a lot of us coaches know."
He likened the NCAA Tournament teams at Canisius and Richmond to ones at WVU and Michigan because they each succeeded in growing with coaching and the system. What he has with these Wolverines is in many ways like no other time in his 35 seasons.
Michigan is ranked No. 3 and 10-0 before Saturday's 8 p.m. ESPN game against the Mountaineers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Wolverines were last 10-0 in the 1988-89 season, which ended with a national championship that doesn't sound so far-fetched this season.
Beilein, of course, would have you believe otherwise.
"We are playing five freshmen more than any team in the country," he said. "It's very rare those type of young men sustain success, so we try every day to get them to continue to understand prosperity so they can continue to get better."
But, oh, those freshmen. Glenn Robinson III was a five-star, top-15 high school player who averages 11.6 points per game. That's two points per game fewer than Nick Stauskas, a top-70 player last year who's shooting 58 percent from 3-point range. Mitch McGary was a top-30 player who stands 6-foot-10 and weighs 250 pounds and serves a significant purpose in Beilein's offense and defense.
A year ago, Trey Burke was the Big Ten's best freshman and nearly went to the NBA. He's averaging 17 points and 6.9 assists. A year before that, Beilein landed Tim Hardaway, Jr., another NBA prospect who averages 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Everything has come together to propel Beilein to a level he's never experienced as a college coach. The view is much different at this height.
"I've always been very comfortable in the underdog role," he said. "I don't think I've been comfortable with any of the preseason or pre-conference type of gossip about who's the best. That's got to be determined down the road."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.