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Heat president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra react to Juwan Howard taking Michigan job

Erik Spoelstra, Pat Riley, Juwan Howard, Heat

Juwan Howard once starred as a player for the Michigan Wolverines, and now, he will be coaching them after his stint as assistant with the Miami Heat.

The former Fab Five member has accepted a job to become the Wolverines’ head coach, replacing long-time coach John Beilein who accepted the vacant HC post with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Obviously, Heat president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra are both thrilled for their former co-worker.

“I’m happy for Juwan, Jenine and his family,” Riley said, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “He is going back to a school and a conference in which he is revered. I think it is a great step forward for him and the university, and I wish him nothing but the best, because that’s what he’s given us.”

Howard spent the last six years as one of Spoelstra’s assistants with the Heat. Before that, Howard spent three seasons with Miami as a player and was considered a very positive influence on LeBron James during James’ time in South Beach.

“Juwan is an absolute star as a person, player and coach,” said Spoelstra, per Reynolds. “I feel he is more than ready. He is a terrific leader and mentor, which translates very well to the collegiate level. … He will forever be a champion and part of the Heat family.”

The 46-year-old won two championships as player for the Heat in 2012 and 2013.

He had a 19-year NBA career overall, averaging 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while playing for the Washington Bullets/Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers before ending his NBA tenure with the Heat.