“Vulnerable” Beilein explains departure to team

Embattled first-year coach holds emotional meeting

“Vulnerable” Beilein explains departure to team
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Denver. The Cavaliers won 111-103. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (Source: David Zalubowski)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - John Beilein had one final act as the Cavaliers head coach.

Pull his team together for a 30-minute emotional talk, to explain why he was stepping down.

“I wasn’t really sure what it was gonna be like coming in today,” forward Kevin Love said following Wednesday’s practice, the first under new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “I’ve never had a coach that’s stepped down or been fired that came in and talked to us, but just seeing him being vulnerable and leaving us with respect, I thought it was super powerful ... I respect the hell out of him.”

In addition to failing to connect with his players, Beilein, at the age of 67, just couldn’t adjust to the losing.

The Cavs have lost 40 of their 54 games, matching the total number of losses Beilein experienced in his last four years at Michigan ... combined.

Beilein will stay with the organization in another role ... for now ... possibly using his four decades of college coaching to assist with the Draft.

“I just think it’s tough for all of us,” Bickerstaff said. “When you come from where Coach came from and the level of success he’s been able to have, losing is something that, unless you’re in it, it’s hard to explain how it weighs on you and how heavy it is.”

Bickerstaff knows firsthand. He took over teams in Houston and Memphis during the season, and managed only one playoff run, with the Rockets.

He says this was the plan all along, that at some point he would be coaching the Cavs. But nobody expected the move to come just 54 games in Beilein’s first season.

Now they reset. With Bickerstaff at the helm.

28 games, to try to come together and find a comfort level and common ground that just didn’t exist under Beilein.

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