With the 2010s coming to a close, it's time to take a look back at the biggest Michigan sports stories of the decade.
10. A championship 26 years in the makingA 3-star freshman point guard who turned down Penn State to come to Ann Arbor. Two lightly-recruited and undersized co-captains from the Hoosier state. A super sophomore who was only ranked the 36th-best shooting guard in his recruiting class. But early on in the Maui Classic, this Michigan basketball squad proved, with double-digit wins over top 10 Memphis and Pac-12 favorite UCLA, that it was going to be a force in the Big Ten. Still, the program hadn't won a conference title since its consecutive championships in 1985-86, and the league was loaded. However, at the end of the season Michigan was 13-5 and atop the league standings with perennial powers Michigan State and Ohio State. The names Trey Burke, Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. laid the foundation for a decade of basketball brilliance, which you'll be reading more about later.
9. Denard Robinson
The sad state of Michigan football prior to the hiring of Jim Harbaugh will be highlighted later on in part two, but just imagine what it would've been like without one of the most dynamic athletes ever to don the winged helmet? He was a highlight waiting to happen, with Anthony Carter-type speed and a smile that lit up the room. His overall statistical profile may hold up for decades, and he led the only football season of the decade that ended with a win over Ohio State and a major bowl victory.
8. Beilein's good-bye
John Beilein was more than a basketball coach at Michigan. He was a basketball savior, literally raising a moribund program from the dead. He not only ended a decade of disappointment post-Ed Martin, but he returned the Wolverines to college basketball's elite. And he did so without the cheating that is rampant in a sport whose corruption is both documented and systemic. His decade simply speaks for itself. Big Ten Coach of the Year, National Coach of the Year, four total Big Ten titles, two trips to the Final Four and the national championship game, and a slew of alums still playing in the NBA. His shocking departure for the NBA last May should take nothing away from his legacy, for he's the closest thing to Bo Schembechler that Michigan basketball has ever had.
7. Red retires
His bio simply speaks for itself. An All-American hockey player at Michigan, who led the nation in goals. Stanley Cup champion with the famed Montreal Canadiens. Then leading the upstart St. Louis Blues to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. Six-time NHL all-star. NHL Coach of the Year. Returned to his alma mater in 1984 and over the next 33 seasons he led the Wolverines to 11 Frozen Fours, two national championships, 20 total conference titles, and a record 22 consecutive bids to the NCAA Hockey Tournament. Inducted into both Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Red Berenson retired in 2017. There will never be another Red Berenson.
6. The magical march through March
On February 6th, the 2017-18 Michigan basketball team lost an ugly game at Northwestern. Shooting just 22% from three and 38% overall to fall to 8-5 in the Big Ten, and essentially out of the regular season race. That team would not lose again for 57 days, all the way to Championship Monday on April 2nd. The Wolverines closed the home schedule with a double-digit win over No.8 Ohio State. Defeated three of the top four seeds in the Big Ten Tournament in consecutive days, by nine points or more each time, to win the title for a second straight year. This time at legendary Madison Square Garden. Got an all-time one shining moment buzzer-beater from Jordan Poole to advance to the Sweet 16. And finally ended the all-time Cinderella run by Sister Jean's Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four. Only No.1 Villanova was able to end this magical march.
What do you think of this list so far? Let us know in the comments section. My top 5 moments will be published here tomorrow.