Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


January 2, 2014


US&J Year End Part II


Newfane native John Beilein made a lot of stops en route to his 2013 destiny in Atlanta — and his close-knit family and friends were there with him every step of the way.
After successful coaching stints at Newfane, Erie Community College, Nazareth, LeMoyne, Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia, Beilein entered into new territory at Michigan in early April, leading the Wolverines to the NCAA’s “Final Four.”
His Wolverines secretary in Ann Arbor, Mich. was inundated throughout Final Four week with so many Lockport-area family members calling about tickets, she reportedly asked the coach, “And exactly how many brothers and sisters do you have?”
The Wolverines eventually lost to Louisville in a heartbreaker in the national championship game, but the postseason run cemented Beilein as one of the game’s great tacticians.
Beilein’s historic run to the NCAA finals is the Union-Sun & Journal’s Local Sports Story of the Year for 2013.
Michigan advanced to the prestigious Final Four — Beilein’s first as a men’s college basketball head coach — by defeating Florida, 79-59, in Arlington, Texas. Several members of the Beilein family were there, including John’s roommate of 18 years growing up in Newfane, his brother, Joe Beilein, of St. Louis.
Driving hundreds of miles and back to one of John’s games is quite normal, after all, his sister Molly told the US&J, last April. More than half of the sports-crazed Beilein-Niland family of Western New York traveled to Atlanta for the NCAA tournament semifinal and final.
Michigan defeated Syracuse, 61-56, to advance to the finals against Louisville. The Cardinals beat Michigan, 82-76, in the championship game.
Here’s a look back on the second half of the last year in local sports. Part I was published on Monday:
1 — Head coach Scott Reddinger’s LHS boys varsity lacrosse team are winners of the New York State Scholar Athlete Team Award.

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