MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- John Beilein won 24 games and a share of the Big Ten regular season championship at the University of Michigan last season before bowing out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round against upstart Ohio.
Then a funny thing happened to Beilein in the offseason.
He finished his fifth season at Michigan and promptly began preparations for his sixth. An event that produced no news was nevertheless newsworthy.
He coached five seasons at Canisius (1992-1997) and then left for Richmond, where he worked five years before taking the job at West Virginia in 2002. He spent five seasons with the Mountaineers before starting a reclamation project with the Wolverines in 2007.
This sixth season is the first in a stage of a career he's never quite experienced.
"He could never see how things would turn out after he rebuilt those previous programs, but he wants to stay and finish his coaching career there now and finally see what he built," said Pat Beilein, the West Virginia Wesleyan coach who scored 1,001 points for his dad from 2003-06 at WVU.
"He never got that chance with the other programs he was rebuilding. Now he's looking forward to seeing what will come of the finished product."
An unquestioned winner in games and practices, Beilein always coached for the victories and improvements. He lived for building something special, which often meant rebuilding a program, whether it was the one he would leave a job to take over or the N.C. State or Indiana jobs he eyeballed while at WVU.
"There is no other one now," John Beilein said Wednesday. "It's been a great journey so far being a bit of a nomadic coach at different places. Sometimes there comes a time when you have to say, 'Oh, man, I really want to savor this one and make the most of it.' "
It's that last part that threatens to irritate old wounds inflicted in April 2007, when Beilein led the Mountaineers to the NIT title. He promptly left a team that featured two NBA players and key contributors to the 2010 Final Four team.
There was talent on the roster and potential in the future, but there were suggestions Beilein could have both at Michigan at a level he could not have at WVU. Beilein never said just that and he still pushes back against the suggestion today. The Wolverines, he said, merely provided another chance to do what he loved most.