The University Record, April 2, 2001

Amaker is new men’s basketball coach

By Theresa Maddix

Amaker. Photo courtesy of the Big Eight Conference
As the NCAA men’s basketball season comes to a crescendo this evening (April 2) with its championship game, the U-M men’s basketball program is beginning a new era with former Duke standout and assistant coach Tommy Amaker. Athletic director Bill Martin announced March 29 that Amaker will lead the Wolverines as the 15th men’s head basketball coach.

“What particularly impressed me [about Amaker],” Martin said, “was the sincerity, the commitment, the compassion that Tommy showed for coming to Michigan—first and foremost about academics and what we are all about here. We talked about academics before we talked about athletics.”

“I am absolutely thrilled,” Amaker said at the official announcement. “This is a school that is known throughout the world for quality—for being the best. That’s certainly what we’re going to strive to become, to act, to behave, to produce and perform.”

Already having met with the men’s basketball student-athletes, Amaker related the five themes he and the team are going to build the program around:

  • “We’re going to show passion.”

  • “We will be prepared.”

  • “We will be honest with one another.”

  • “We are going to have some fun.”

  • “We’re going to be Michigan.”

    Amaker began his college basketball career by leading a then-unknown Duke program to legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first national title. After a period as Duke’s assistant coach, 1988–96, Amaker took the head coaching job at Seton Hall in 1997. Amaker, 35, had a 68–55 record at Seton Hall, with a Sweet 16 appearance in last year’s NCAA tournament.

    Amaker’s five-year contract is for $500,000–$600,000 a year from the Department of Athletics. With incentives, his annual contract could be worth up to $900,000 annually.

    Martin appointed a 10-member advisory screening committee two weeks ago to select a field of candidates for the coaching job. “I very much appreciate the efforts that all the members of that committee put forward,” he said. “They really extended our tentacles out into the basketball world to research the potential candidates available to us.”

    Committee members included current players LaVell Blanchard and Chris Young; women’s coach Sue Guevara; Warde Manuel, assistant director of athletics; Ted Spencer, director of undergraduate admissions; and former players, Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, ESPN analyst Tim McCormick, Butch Wade, Mark Hughes and Mike Griffin.

    The committee narrowed a list of close to 50 possible candidates down to six and, Martin said, “put Amaker at the top of the pecking list.”