It was under the supervision of sean miller that the arizona wildcats got caught up in an fbi sting operation and an ncaa investigation, but it will be someone else who walks them to the line of goal.
According to stadium’s jeff goodman, arizona fired miller after 12 seasons on Wednesday, parting with the third-winningest coach in school history even though he had one year left on his contract. . The decision comes more than a month after the 2020-21 season ended, with athletic director dave heeke and school president dr. Robert C. Robbins remained publicly silent on the issue as dozens of other Division I programs made coaching changes.
miller, 52, ends his tenure with an overall record of 302-109 and a mark of 150-68 in pac-10/12 play, with arizona going 17-9 overall and 11-9 in the pac-12 in its final season. he was the third-fastest coach to reach 300 wins at a conference school, and his league win total ranks 10th all-time.
Miller, a three-time pac-12 coach of the year, led arizona to at least a portion of five regular-season conference titles, as well as 3 pac-12 tournament championships. He led the Wildcats to seven NCAA tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 five times and reaching the elite eight three times.
But Arizona’s NCAA tournament success was gone by the second half of Miller’s streak, as the Wildcats last reached the tournament in 2018 and last won a game in 2017. the 2019-20 team coming into the tournament with the covid-pandemic on november 19 did not shut down sports in mid-march, while this year’s team would have been in a mix for a bid if arizona hadn’t self-imposed a postseason ban at the end of December.
Ironically, the Wildcats choosing to opt out of the 2021 tournament coincided with possibly the best Pac-12 performance to date. the conference had four teams reach the sweet 16, three reached the elite eight (including the surprise pac-12 tournament champion oregon state) and ucla made it to the final four, nearly eliminating then-undefeated gonzaga in the national semifinals.
The decision not to participate in the pac-12 and ncaa tournaments this year was a proactive move by the school after receiving a notice of complaints from the ncaa in october. the ua delayed publishing the noa until a maricopa county judge ordered it to be done, revealing that the men’s basketball program was charged with five level i infractions, considered the most serious.
Among the level i charges was a charge against miller for failing to promote compliance, as well as a charge for lack of institutional control against the school.
Arizona has been in hot water since September 2017, when then-assistant coach book richardson was arrested by fbi agents and charged with taking bribes from a would-be sports agent. He pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and was sentenced to three months in prison.
In February 2018, a still unsubstantiated report from ESPN claimed that Miller had been caught in a federal wiretap arranging a $100,000 payout to secure future Pac-12 Player of the Year and no. 1 nba draft pick deandre ayton would come to arizona. Miller refuted that claim a few days later at a news conference in which he vehemently denied ever knowingly committing an NCAA violation.
More smoke billowed from the show in February 2019 when then-assistant coach mark phelps was placed on administrative leave and later fired, allegedly for helping ua commit shareef o’ a single neal time with an online class. Phelps, through his attorney, has denied wrongdoing and in May 2019 asserted that his firing was an effort by the UA to offset potential NCAA sanctions due to Richardson’s arrest and conviction. p>
Whoever arizona hires to replace miller could inherit a pretty stacked team for 2021-22, assuming the coaching change doesn’t cause a mass exodus of players like the ua has experienced in recent seasons. the wildcats could return with seven of their top nine scorers if james akinjo opts to return after testing the waters of the nba draft, and they signed a top 100 trio escorts in November.
after miller’s departure, arizona will have first-year head coaches in both football and men’s basketball for the first time since 1973, when fred snowden completed his first of 10 seasons in charge from the hoops program and jim young began his 4-year tenure leading the football team.