SAN ANTONIO — The first rule of Drip Club is, you do not talk about Drip Club. The second rule of Drip Club is, YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT DRIP CLUB.
So imagine the look on Jordan Poole’s face when, a few weeks back, during a film session, Michigan coach John Beilein … talked about Drip Club.
“Yeah, he surprised me a little bit,” Poole, the Wolverines’ freshman guard, told Land of 10, grinning as the recounted the moment his 65-year-old coach got wise. “Just because he’s super straight-laced.”
Straight-laced, Drip Club is not. Unofficially, it’s where the cool kids in the Michigan locker room kick up their feet; Poole and sophomore swing man Ibi Watson launched that particular boat in honor of their afros. Forward Isaiah Livers is a card-carrying member, as are freshman guard Eli Brooks and forward Brent Hibbitts. Those without immense swag need not apply.
So when Drip Club trickled all the way up the flagpole, it went down like Sister Jean quoting Migos lyrics, dancing with her dogs in the nighttime.
Did Coach REALLY just reference the Drip Boys? In a team meeting?
“And you never see guys [do that], especially being a little bit older and not being super-duper connected to our culture,” Poole said. “It’s definitely pretty amazing when he says stuff like that.”
If Chris Mack is raking on $4 million a year from Louisville for seven seasons, what do you think Beilein is worth to Michigan these days?
“Yeah, I think he’s very underrated,” Watson said of Beilein, whose Wolverines (32-7) open their second NCAA Tournament Final Four run in six seasons on Saturday night with a national semifinal clash against Loyola-Chicago (32-5).
“And I think it seems like every year, his team is at its best in March. And that’s something that not everybody can accomplish.”
Over the last two seasons, Michigan has appeared in 15 win-or-go-home games in March. The Wolverines have gone 14-1.
Mack, over that same stretch with Xavier, went 7-4.
Bob Huggins, who’s making a reported $3.76 million at West Virginia: 8-4.
Sean Miller, $4.05 million (for now) at Arizona: 8-2.
Tom Izzo, $4.36 million at Michigan State: 4-4.
What’s John Beilein’s contract situation? Feel like he doesn’t get enough credit.
— Not The Only One With Hands (@MrSuperJay) March 23, 2018
In the fall of 2015, it was announced Beilein agreed to a six-year extension through 2021 that currently pays him $3.37 million annually, according to USA Today’s most recent database of coaching salaries.
In this climate, given the benefit of hindsight, it looks like one of the Big Ten’s best bargains. A steal.
Can we sign John Beilein to a lifetime contract right now?
— Kyle Thompson (@kylejot81) March 4, 2018
John Beilein lifetime contract now please
— Nate Borgeson (@n8islame) March 3, 2018
Wasn’t a fan when it came up in the football context but I’d be on board with a lifetime contract for John Beilein.
That’s my coach! Results, results, results & does it squeaky clean.
People can piss n moan re: his recruiting all they want..he gets the players he needs. #GoBlue
— Russ (@Russ13100) March 3, 2018
At present, Beilein is signed through age 68.
Could we make it 78?
He’s changed point guards. He’s changed assistants. He’s changed mantras. The only thing that hasn’t changed?
“I think the best thing you can say is, he’s a good teacher,” Watson said of Beilein. “I think that really contributes to that large amount of wins.
“All the little things he was trying to teach us early, it takes a long time to learn. There’s a lot of stuff. And once you get to the end of the season, everything starts to sound more and more familiar, and things start coming to fruition.
“That’s one of the things about Coach B — it’s not always as pretty, early in the season, but by the time it comes to March, guys really understand their roles, understanding every bit of terminology and everything. And that’s when we’re at the best of our game.”
And when he’s at the best of his.
Michigan has 58 wins all-time in the Big Dance. Throw in the sanctions, and it’s 51, officially.
Since 2009, Beilein has accounted for 17 of those 51 — or exactly a third. All by himself.
John Beilein and Michigan are back in the final four (the only school he's taken this far). Remember when people were upset with his first contract extension? Seems like a while ago doesn't it…He has been one of the best coaches the program has ever had.
— Ben Szilagy (@BenSzilagy) March 25, 2018
Could we make it 88?
Hell, could we make it for life?
“He’s been coaching so long, he knows what to do and what not to do,” Poole said. “But having a guy like that who’s so intelligent, offensively and defensively, as a coach … being able to have that in a coach who has faith [in you] is good.”
Especially now. March is fickle. March in cruel. And yet, in a span of thirteen months, Michigan has racked up two Big Ten tourney titles. Two Sweet 16s. One Elite Eight. One Final Four.
Not much gets past Beilein this month.
Drip Club, least of all.
“He serves players’ hearts,” former Wolverines forward and undergraduate assistant Austin Hatch noted. “Not their talents.”
Hard to put a price on that. Although Izzo money sounds like it might be a pretty damn good place to start, don’t you think?