Sean Miller seems to have accepted his fate at Arizona
With FBI and NCAA scruting surely coming, it seems like Sean Miller said goodbye to Arizona Wildcats fans on Saturday.
Sean Miller entered this season somewhat on the hot seat, with his connection to the corruption scandal in college basketball. Then his Arizona Wildcats lost to rival Arizona State on Saturday, as the Sun Devils secured their first sweep of the regular season series since 2008-09 (the season before Miller took over in Tucson).
After winning at least 20 games in eight straight seasons, and winning the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles the previous two seasons, Arizona went just 17-14 and 8-10 in-conference play this year.
Miller has won the Pac-12 regular season title five times in 10 seasons at Arizona, with five Sweet 16 appearances and three runs to the Elite Eight. But failure to reach the Final Four has drawn the ire of Wildcats’ faithful, even if Miller has been far more likely to leave for another job (ex: Pitt, his alma mater) than be fired.
After the 72-64 home loss to Arizona State Saturday afternoon, Miller addressed the crowd at McKale Center. Clearly emotional, it sounded like a goodbye.
There’s no place that’s more magical than McKale Center, there’s no fans in the world that are more loyal… And it has been an amazing honor to coach in McKale Center the last 10 years. Thank you for everything,
The heat is about to be turned up on Miller, as he has been subpoenaed for a federal corruption trial attached to the college hoops scandal that is slated for April 22. One of Miller’s assistant coaches, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, was convicted on fraud charges during the first corruption trial. Two other former assistants, Mark Phelps and Joe Pasternack, have come under fire for questionable tactics with Pasternack closely tied to the current FBI investigation into the black market of recruiting.
To no one’s surprise, Miller refused to address the context of his comments during his post game press conference. That will not quell speculation about his future heading into the Pac-12 tournament, and at least one well-connected writer has pointed directly at what is coming.
If Miller and Arizona agree to cut ties, beyond the trial he has been called to testify in and all that implies, the focus will shift toward any NCAA penalties he’ll face and when or if he’ll be able to coach again. Right or wrong, if he gets clear of this scandal relatively unscathed he’ll be in demand whenever he can coach again.
But Miller’s status post-Arizona (under the assumption he’s gone) is the biggest question, with the FBI involved this time around.