An introductory meeting in Los Angeles in the past two weeks has turned into interest.
The Detroit Free Press confirmed that the University of Michigan coach John Beilein interviewed with the Detroit Pistons Thursday for their vacant head coaching position.
A source said the Pistons’ process with Beilein started with an introductory meeting with the ownership group in L.A.
Beilein has been a hot name in coaching circles the past few years based on his offensive schemes and player development reputation.
But there is skepticism about Beilein’s candidacy based on his age, 65.
It is believed that the Pistons are seeking a long-term solution at head coach, similar to their approach for front office leader.
Ultimately, the organization will have to decide if Beilein could relate to NBA players.
The university did not respond to a request for comment.
A source told the Free Press that Beilein told his team on Thursday that he was in talks with the Pistons. He also informed recent 4-star commit Jalen Wilson from of Denton, Texas.
The Pistons search team of senior adviser Ed Stefanski, Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem and ownership representative Bob Wentworth is working to whittle the list of names to a group of finalists to present to owner Tom Gores.
Former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey interviewed with the Pistons Thursday.
Casey came into the interview with lukewarm expectations based on questions of game management.
But he blew the search team away and was very prepared with detailed notes and video clips.
Beilein was on the list of coaching candidates compiled by a consulting firm before Stan Van Gundy was hired as team president and coach in 2014.
Beilein has been a college coach since 1978. After successful runs at Le Moyne, Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia, he was hired by Michigan in 2007.
Since then, Beilein is Michigan’s all-time leader in wins with a record of 248-143, has reached the national title game twice, including this year, and won the past two Big Ten tournament titles.
If Beilein lands the job, Miami Heat assistant and former Michigan star Juwan Howard could emerge as Beilein’s lead assistant, a source told the Free Press. Howard is also interviewing for the Pistons head coaching position.
Beilein’s allure to the NBA is his reputation as a talent developer, especially in the past few years.
Notable draft picks at Michigan under Beilein include Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr. Glenn Robinson III, Caris LeVert and D.J. Wilson. This summer, Moritz Wagner, who is forgoing his senior season, is expected to be as high as a first-round pick.
Last month, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said he wanted Beilein to remain at the school for the rest of his career. The two sides were discussing a contract extension, according to Manuel. As of now, Beilein is signed through the 2020-21 season, making a base salary of $3.37 million.
“I don’t want John Beilein to coach anywhere else and he knows that,” Manuel said. “He understands my feelings towards that. You can take that for what it’s worth.