Following up on a report from earlier today…University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein announced the hiring of Billy Donlon and Saddi Washington as assistant coaches for the Wolverines.
“We are forever grateful for the fine work that LaVall Jordan and Bacari Alexander brought to our program over the past six years,” said Beilein. “Their departures, however, have opened up a great opportunity for our staff to grow. Billy Donlon andSaddi Washington are exactly who I felt we needed to be able to continue our success and compete for more Big Ten championships.
“I have known Billy for almost two decades, and I love his passion and IQ for the game. He has tremendous experience as a player, assistant and head coach at the Division I level. Improving our defense is a huge goal for us, and defense is one of Billy’s specialties. He is also excellent in skill development, and that has been a key to our success at Michigan. I am excited to have Billy join our staff, the athletics department and this University.
“Saddi and I have known each other since his days at Western Michigan when I coached against them. We have also talked a lot of basketball in my nine years here at Michigan. Saddi is an outstanding teacher of the game, and I love that he can coach multiple positions. He has established great relationships as a recruiter both in and out of the state of Michigan. His poise and presence remind me of LaVall, and I know he will be a great asset to our program.”
Donlon comes to U-M after spending the last decade at Wright State University, including the final six years as the program’s head coach. In those six seasons (2010-16), Donlon compiled a 109-94 record with three 20-plus win seasons and helped the Raiders reach the Horizon League Tournament title game three times (2013, ’14, ’16). In addition, Donlon’s squads tied the program marks for wins with 23 in 2013 and conference wins with 13 in 2016.
Before his promotion to head coach in 2010, Donlon served as the associate head coach under current Clemson head coach Brad Brownell for four seasons (2007-10). He helped Wright State to four straight 20-plus win seasons, the 2007 Horizon League regular-season and tournament title and an automatic bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Before joining Wright State, Donlon was an assistant at his alma mater UNC Wilmington for four seasons (2002-06), coaching again under Brownell. Donlon assisted the Seahawks to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (2003, ’06) and two Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular-season and tournament titles (2003, ’06).
“Having the opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious universities in the world as well as with one of the most respected coaches in the game is truly an honor,” said Donlon. “As a player, I competed against Coach Beilein’s Richmond teams. I always admired the way they played and how they competed the right way. Getting a chance to be part of that is a great opportunity, and I am very eager to get started.”
Following a stellar collegiate career at Western Michigan (1996-99) and a seven-year professional career, Washington got into coaching starting as a volunteer assistant at nearby Romulus High School. Following his one season with the Eagles, he has spent the last 10 years as a member of the Oakland (2006-16) coaching staff. After seven years as an assistant, he served as the associate head coach under Greg Kampe over the last three seasons.
During his decade with Oakland, he helped the Golden Grizzlies to 198 wins, with five 20-plus win seasons. Oakland made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament (2010, ’11) after winning won two straight Summit League regular-season and conference tournament titles.
“My family and I are truly blessed and excited to begin this new phase of our lives in Ann Arbor,” said Washington. “Growing up in the state of Michigan, I understand the rich history that has been developed and maintained here at U-M. It is the elite standard of excellence both academically and athletically. Coach Beilein is known throughout the country as an elite coach and tactician, so I look forward to learning under his tutelage and further developing my craft as a coach and builder of young men.”
Donlon and Washington replace assistants LaVall Jordan and Bacari Alexander, who left the U-M after being named head coaches at Milwaukee and Detroit, respectively.
Here is what they are saying …
Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens on Billy Donlon … “I’ve always been really impressed with Billy. He did a great job at Wright State. He is a great coach on both ends of the court and truly loves the game. His work ethic and passion for development will fit right in with John and the U-M basketball program.”
Oakland Head Coach Greg Kampe on Saddi Washington … “I cannot tell you how happy I am for Saddi. He has given me 10 of the best years of Oakland basketball. He has been an integral part of what we’ve been able to accomplish over that time. He will really be missed, but once again I cannot tell you how happy I am for him to be coaching at one of the finest institutions in the country.”
Photo Courtesy Michigan Athletics