Gerard Pique draws inspiration from Michigan basketball after Spain fire coach


Spain defender Gerard Pique cited an odd precedence for Spain’s World Cup hopes in the wake of firing their coach on the eve of the tournament — University of Michigan basketball.

The Spanish federation on Wednesday decided to sack coach Julen Lopetegui after he agreed to take over as manager of Real Madrid after the World Cup ended.

The move has threatened to push the team into turmoil just days before their opener against Portugal, but Pique has found inspiration in American college basketball.

“University of Michigan. Basketball. 1989. NCAA Champion. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened,” Pique wrote on Twitter. “All together, now more than ever.”

Almost 30 years ago, Michigan faced nearly the same situation as Spain when coach Bill Frieder announced before the NCAA tournament that he would leave after the season to take over Arizona State.

Michigan decided to fire Frieder immediately and promoted assistant coach Steve Fisher, who led the 3-seeded Wolverines to the national title.

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