- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2013

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - Michigan coach John Beilein has reached his first Final Four in a 35-year career that started at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y. Subsequent stops included Nazareth, LeMoyne and Canisius before the names started getting a little more recognizable.

Beilein spent five years each at Richmond and West Virginia. He’s in his sixth season with the Wolverines, who beat Florida 79-59 in the South Regional final Sunday.

He says a lot of people helped him in his nomadic ways. And now he is headed to the Final Four.

“If we never went, it wouldn’t be like we missed out on something,” he said. “But the fact that we’re going right now, this is great frosting on the cake.”

The Mountaineers made it to the regional finals in 2005 under Beilein, losing to Louisville 93-85 in overtime after leading by 20 points.

“That crossed my mind,” said Beilein, who turned 60 in February and has two grandkids. “I knew one thing. If we had this opportunity again, I was going to treasure it more and do everything we could to make sure that we could be ready to play that game.”