Renowned strength coach Jon Sanderson resigns from Michigan after reaching settlement

On3 imageby:Clayton Sayfie03/01/24


Michigan Wolverines basketball strength coach Jon Sanderson has resigned from his post after 15 years at the university, according to a report from The Athletic. Sanderson hadn’t been with the team since early December, when he and head coach Juwan Howard were involved in a heated altercation before practice.

The Athletic reported that Sanderson’s resignation comes on the heels of a settlement that includes a non-disclosure clause.

Sanderson is one of the most renowned strength coaches in the country, having been crucial in the development of Michigan basketball players for years, under both former head man John Beilein and Howard. Most notably, he helped the transformations of Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, Kobe Bufkin — all first-round NBA Draft picks — and others. Sanderson also worked with men’s and women’s golf.

Michigan director of strength and conditioning Mike Favre replaced Sanderson on the bench at games since Sanderson and Howard’s falling out.

“Jon Sanderson has resigned his position with the University of Michigan Athletic Department, effective March 1, U-M said in a statement to The Athletic. “We appreciate Jon’s contributions over the years and wish him the best going forward.”

The Athletic obtained documents related to the Sanderson-Howard altercation, including Sanderson’s email to Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel reporting the incident.

Sanderson said junior guard Jace Howard, the head coach’s son, was “berating” a trainer that caused a “scene.” Sanderson intervened from 30 feet away, saying, “You’re a student athlete and he is a professional. You don’t talk to a professional like that. That is disrespectful and entitled.”

Sanderson wrote that Juwan Howard came at him, “angry and ready to fight,” as staff and players held him back and separated the two individuals.

“He kept aggressively pursuing me to fight,” Sanderson said.

Manuel passed Sanderson’s report on to Michigan’s human resources department. After a lengthy review, it was determined that no disciplinary action toward either Sanderson or Howard was necessary.

“Based on a thorough internal review, nothing was found to warrant disciplinary action for anyone involved,” Manuel wrote Dec. 15. “As such, we will move forward with a focus on our team and our season.”

The Athletic‘s report detailed correspondence between Sanderson and Michigan assistant athletic director of human resources during the internal review.

“Sanderson told Raymond that he intended to remain with the basketball program and that he elected to participate in a facilitation session,” the site’s Katie Strang and Brendan Quinn wrote. “In that email, Sanderson said he was told by his superior to avoid team facilities and that Manuel didn’t want him having contact with student athletes from the men’s basketball team; Sanderson said he wanted to ensure no false statement would be made to the media or public about his absence.

“’No one should indicate that it is voluntary,’ Sanderson wrote.”

Michigan is 8-20 overall and 3-15 in Big Ten play, currently dead last in the conference standings. The Wolverines haven’t finished last in the Big Ten since 1967. Michigan made five-straight Sweet 16 appearances until Howard and Co. missed the NCAA Tournament last season.

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