Michigan's longtime strength coach is resigning from his position after reportedly reaching a settlement

Sanderson has been with the Michigan men's program since he was hired in 2009 by former head coach John Beilein. (Photo by Hannah Fountain – CamSport via Getty Images)

John Sanderson, the longtime strength and conditioning coach for the Michigan men's basketball team, resigned from his position Friday after 15 years with the program.

The decision comes two months after Sanderson stopped working with the team.

According to The Athletic newspaperSanderson and the university reached a settlement regarding his resignation, a settlement that included a nondisclosure clause.

Sanderson's departure comes nearly three months after he got into a confrontation with Michigan coach Juwan Howard, which ended his time working with the men's team. Since the Dec. 7 incident, Sanderson has worked primarily with the school's Olympic sports teams.

The documents he obtained The athlete He revealed what Sanderson emailed to Michigan athletic director Ward Manuel the day after Sanderson faced off with Juwan Howard.

What led to the incident, according to Sanderson, was an altercation between an athletic trainer and senior guard Jess Howard, Joan's son. Jess Howard had been out the entire season at that point with a stress fracture and was questioning the coaching staff as to why he was not cleared to play.

Sanderson wrote that Jess Howard “was berating” the coach and caused a “scene” that caused several players to stop and watch. Sanderson described the scene as “completely out of control” and said the coach was trying to calm Jess Howard down and urged him to discuss the matter privately. When Sanderson noticed the coach looking increasingly desperate and “panicked,” Sanderson stepped in and yelled at Howard from about 30 feet away, “You're a student-athlete and he's a professional. You don't talk to a professional like that. That's disrespectful and entitled.” He said he repeated that the sermon was “disrespectful.”

Sanderson wrote in an email to Manuel that he tried to calm the situation, turned his back and walked away. When Sanderson looked back, he said Juwan Howard came at him, “angry and ready to fight,” and shouted repeatedly as players and staff held him back.

“He kept aggressively pursuing me to fight, with the players and staff doing their best to pin him down. He was out of control, it was an ugly sight. I had no choice but to stand my ground, and I didn't back down. A few others also stood in front of me,” Sanderson wrote. “From players and staff trying to keep us apart.”

The players and staff were eventually able to restrain Howard, after which the team began practice and Sanderson went to his office, Sanderson wrote.

PISCATAWAY, NJ - FEBRUARY 29: Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard on the sideline during the first half of a college basketball game against Rutgers.  (Photo by Rich Graysle/Ikon Sportswire via Getty Images)PISCATAWAY, NJ - FEBRUARY 29: Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard on the sideline during the first half of a college basketball game against Rutgers.  (Photo by Rich Graysle/Ikon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PISCATAWAY, NJ – FEBRUARY 29: Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard on the sideline during the first half of a college basketball game against Rutgers. (Photo by Rich Graysle/Ikon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Even as Juwan Howard had a zero-tolerance policy for his infamous punch of a Wisconsin assistant coach in 2022, he was cleared by the university in mid-December after a human resources review. “Based on a comprehensive internal review, nothing was found to warrant disciplinary action for anyone involved,” Manuel’s statement said.

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Jess Howard said Detroit Free Press in December That the incident was “clearly a misunderstanding of what the reports were, and was almost entirely false.” When asked for his version, Juwan Howard pointed to Manuel's statement, saying, “I think it was clear. It was accurate.”

Sanderson was hired by Michigan in 2009 by former men's coach John Beilein. When Howard took office in 2019, he retained Sanderson as part of his staff.

The Michigan men's basketball team is currently 8-21 and has lost its last six games and 10 of its previous 11. The team is one defeat away from the record for losses in a single season.

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