The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced Thursday that its men’s basketball head coach position has been endowed through a gift by David and Meredith Kaplan of Los Angeles, California, both alumni of the university.

The position, currently held by John Beilein, will be named the David and Meredith Kaplan Men’s Basketball Head Coach.

The naming and endowment of the position was approved by the Board of Regents during its June meeting. The $7.5 million gift includes funding for the head basketball coach position, the David and Meredith Kaplan Men’s Basketball Endowed Scholarship Fund and Athletic Department facilities improvements.

“We are so grateful to David and Meredith for this generous gift,” said Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “The Kaplans are longtime advocates for this great university, and they recognize the unique benefits of team sports as part of the educational experience.

“I am constantly reminded that the dedication and commitment to excellence of our student-athletes are matched by the loyalty and support of our alumni and friends. This gift from David and Meredith is a true reflection of that commitment.”

The Kaplans have a history spanning more than two decades of passionate philanthropic support for a variety of initiatives at U-M. This includes assisting in the creation of the Michigan Israel Partnership for Research, funding scholarships at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and supporting initiatives in the Office of Student Life, the Office of Financial Aid and the Athletic Department, including funding for the Michigan Stadium Renovation and scholarships for student-athletes in men’s basketball. 

In addition, the Kaplans have been generous with their time, serving on various volunteer boards and leadership committees at the university. Currently, they sit on the National Campaign Leadership Board and the Los Angeles Campaign Leadership Council, and David Kaplan is a member of the President’s Advisory Group, among other roles.

“This is a tremendous honor to have my position at Michigan named after someone as admirable as David and Meredith Kaplan,” said Beilein. “The Kaplans have been so generous to the university, not just through an endowed scholarship for athletics, but also to the Ross Business School, Life Sciences Institute and Office of Financial Aid.

“On a personal level, Kathleen and I consider David and Meredith to be more than benevolent alums. They are true friends to us and our entire basketball family. I will do my very best to represent this position with as much success, class and dignity as David and Meredith have represented this outstanding institution as alums.”

“Meredith and I are absolutely thrilled to provide this gift to Michigan and with special recognition of our friend John Beilein,” said David Kaplan. “John exemplifies what is good and wholesome in college sports and we are delighted that his leadership abilities were on display for all to see during the program’s remarkable run this past March.”

“As an undergraduate senior in 1989, I was fortunate to have been a student during a historic year for Michigan athletics,” David Kaplan continued. “I was lucky to be present in Seattle for the culmination of what was an epic NCAA men’s basketball championship run. Watching our team of diverse individuals come together as a group successfully running the tournament gauntlet instilled in me a lesson that I have carried throughout my adult life.

“As Coach Schembechler so famously said a few years earlier, ‘No man is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The team. The team. The team.’ That basketball championship left an enduring mark on Meredith and me, and it is an absolute thrill for us to support Coach Beilein, a Michigan man who carries on that lasting message of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.”

In 10 seasons in Ann Arbor, Beilein has collected a program-record 215 victories. He has guided U-M to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including helping the Wolverines make their return after an 11-year NCAA Tournament absence as well as a trip to the Final Four in 2013 following a 20-year wait. 

U-M has claimed a pair of Big Ten regular-season crowns during his tenure, capturing a share of the 2012 title — the first since 1986 — and following with the program’s first outright Big Ten crown in 28 years in 2014. In 2017, U-M overcame a plane accident to win four games in four days and become the lowest-seeded team to win the Big Ten Tournament. 

Beilein, who was the 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year, has guided 12 Wolverines to All-Big Ten honors and helped mentor seven players get selected in the NBA draft, including five first-round selections and two lottery picks.

Following Michigan football and men’s basketball’s milestone year of 1989, David Kaplan graduated from the Ross School with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance. Meredith Kaplan graduated from LSA in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.

David Kaplan is a co-founder of Ares Management LLC, a publicly traded alternative asset manager. Meredith Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Gratus, a women’s retail clothing boutique based in Beverly Hills, California.

This gift supports the university’s ongoing Victors for Michigan campaign that kicked off in 2013. Campaign goals include raising money for student support, engaged learning and bold ideas.