Former Michigan head coach Steve Fisher was at the helm for some of U-M's best ever basketball seasons, and also for some of its most turbulent. Current head coach John Beilein, though, considers Fisher a friend, and he said Thursday plans are in the works to welcome Fisher back to Ann Arbor.
"Steve Fisher and I have been friends long back when he was Michigan coach, and he has gone out of his way over and over again to when I'm on the road, I'm traveling, whatever ... the Nike trips, we have actually spent a lot of time together. Steve's a close friend, and I know that's in the plans."
Fisher led Michigan to the 1989 National Championship after Bill Frieder accepted the Arizona State job, and athletic director Bo Schembechler made it permanent after the run. He led the Fab Five to two other Final Fours, but the Ed Martin booster scandal led to his firing a week before practice began for the 1997–98 season.
He took over as coach of a San Diego State program that had suffered losing records in 13 of the previous 14 years. In the season before he arrived (1999), the Aztecs had won just four games, but Fisher led them to a 21–12 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in year three, followed by seven other NCAA Tournament appearances.
Beilein declined to elaborate when asked how he planned to bring Fisher back.
"I'd rather keep it right there," he said. "He's a great friend, and he did a fantastic job at Michigan ... and we're always thinking how we can bring former coaches and former players back. We've really done a great job.
"He's been coaching at San Diego State, so he could never make it back to some of our reunions. That's something we're very hopeful to do in the future."
Michigan will likely honor the 1989 National Champions next season, the 30th anniversary of its title.
U-M could face Dutcher and San Diego State in the second round should the Wolverines beat Montana and No. 11 seed SDSU handle six seed Houston in Wichita.
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