Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke discusses firing Sean Miller and the future of the men’s basketball program


Caleb Villegas

Arizona Athletics Director Dave Heeke pumped the crowd up for the football game on Oct.12 on University Boulevard. Heeke also gave a speech on upcoming seasons for softball and tennis.

Ryan Wohl

The University of Arizona has parted ways with head coach Sean Miller, the school announced Wednesday morning, April 7. Miller just finished his twelfth season as the Wildcats men’s basketball head coach.

Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke spoke with reporters Wednesday afternoon, April 7 to further discuss the school’s next plan of action.

Here are some highlights from the virtual press conference.

Heeke on when he discussed the decision with Miller: “I met with [Miller] this morning, in person, to inform him on my decision. Following, I met with the coaching staff and then the student athletes. We concluded it was time for a fresh start and to make a change.”

“[Miller] was, as always, very professional and respectful. They are difficult conversations, but he was professional and very respectful. I’m not going to specifically talk about the contents of our meetings. As I mentioned before, every time I’ve been with [Miller], he’s an incredibly respectful and professional person, and that was no different today or any of the previous meetings that we have had.”

Heeke on if a contract extension for Miller was considered: “An extension was one of those factors and something we considered. … We considered those things and we got to the point where we felt that it was best to move forward and change direction of our leadership.”

RELATED: Sean Miller out as Arizona men’s basketball coach after 12 seasons

Heeke on making the decision during the NCAA investigation: “The timing of that process does not preclude my continual evaluations of the program and the very high expectations we have for it. I think we’ve been very clear; we’ve wanted to allow the process to go as long and as far as it can. That doesn’t mean that, along that timeline, that we aren’t continually reviewing our program and the status of that program: on, off the court, all of the issues around a major college basketball program. So, while those are factors, those are just some of the factors. We feel like we’ve allowed that process. We didn’t think it would take this long, but at this point, we need to move forward. We think that’s best for a fresh start, and that’s best for everyone involved.”

Heeke on what’s next for the men’s basketball program: “Jack Murphy is our interim head coach. He will navigate the program with the support of the current staff through our search period. We will be in an active search, and it’s an optimal time to find a new head coach. We will move forward with that. We’ll move swiftly and hire someone as quickly as we possibly can. Our goal is to find the right person that’s the right fit for Arizona basketball.”

Heeke on what they are looking for in their next men’s basketball head coach: “Coaches who exhibit integrity, competitive and a genuine care for student athletes. We need an outstanding leader and a high-level basketball coach that understands how to run a basketball program of success.”

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