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After Hiring Dusty May, What’s Next For Michigan’s Basketball Program?

Brian Gornick, Sports Editor

Dusty May, pictured second from the left, speaks to his team during the second half of the game against Northwestern in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Photo//Elsa

The men’s basketball team at Michigan finally has a coach at the helm, signing Florida Atlantic head coach Dusty May to a reportedly five-year deal at an annual salary of $3.75 million. 

Less than two weeks after firing former head coach Juwan Howard after a disappointing season in which Michigan finished last in the Big Ten standings, the Wolverines needed to move quickly if they wanted to get the right coach for the job.

Competing with schools such as Louisville, West Virginia, and others, Michigan struck quickly. Many insiders around college hoops felt that May was heading to Louisville, with many insiders saying a deal was close to being signed this past weekend. Instead, May is coming to Ann Arbor to rebuild a team, just like he did at Florida Atlantic.

The 47-year-old has some familiarity with Michigan. Serving as a student manager while a student at Indiana under legendary coach Bob Knight, May got his first coaching job at Eastern Michigan in 2005. After a few stops in the Southern United States at UAB, Louisiana Tech, and Florida, May got his first head coaching job at Florida Atlantic in 2018.

In his five years at FAU, May posted a total record of 126-69, posting a winning record in all five seasons at a program that never had a winning culture before. His most notable season came last year, in which he led FAU to the Final Four as a nine-seed in March Madness, the best season in program history. While this season was considered somewhat of a disappointment after the Owls were knocked out by Northwestern in the first round, May still has a strong resume.

A lot of work has to be done for May to turn Michigan’s program around like he did at FAU. This past season, Michigan posted an overall record of 8-24, not making the NCAA Tournament or the NIT Tournament. 

The Wolverines also lost a slew of players to the transfer portal. Guards Dug McDaniel and George Washington III both entered the portal last Monday. They were followed by sophomores Tarris Reed and Youssef Khayat. Top 50 recruit Khani Rooths also de-committed from Michigan last week, leaving the 2024 recruiting class with only two signed players. 

That’s five players that will no longer be on the team next season, leaving May with many open roster spots he needs to fill soon. He will likely need to utilize the transfer portal to make a stopgap as he rebuilds Michigan’s program. Looking to his team at Florida Atlantic may give some insight into where he may look.

A few of FAU’s players have been linked to following Dusty May to Michigan. Guards Alijah Martin, Johnell Davis, and center Vladislav Goldin were all linked as possible transfers to Michigan by 247sports. All three have an extra year of eligibility as graduate students and would be great players to support the program while May builds his recruiting classes. 

While May gets acclimated to Michigan’s current roster and builds his staff, there will be little time for formalities. He will need to hit the ground running on both the transfer portal and recruiting to quickly get Michigan back to winning form, and get the Wolverines back into contention for Big Ten and National titles. 

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