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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Simon not retained for a 4th year

    Miles Simon
    Miles Simon

    Miles Simon will forever be remembered as a hero in UA lore for his part in leading Arizona to its only basketball national championship back in 1997.

    Those days seemed like ancient history Friday when UA athletic director Jim Livengood announced Simon’s assistant coaching contract would not be renewed for next season. Simon, who coached the perimeter players, spent three seasons as an Arizona assistant.

    “”I would like to thank the University of Arizona and coach Olson for giving me my first opportunity as a coach,”” Simon said through the UA sports information office. “”I will always be appreciative of that. I would also like to thank the Wildcat fans and the Tucson community for supporting me. I consider Tucson my home away from home, and I will always cherish my time here.””

    Simon did not return calls or text messages this weekend seeking comment.

    Livengood called it “”an administrative decision”” on “”a personnel issue,”” citing university policy as to why he cannot comment further on how the decision was made.

    “”Miles was obviously a great player that provided a lot of great service and memories for the Wildcats, and we’re just going in a different direction,”” Livengood said.

    Simon made about $90,000 last season on his year-to-year contract which runs through June 30.

    Simon’s contract not being renewed makes for an awkward parting between the Most Outstanding Player of the 1997 NCAA Tournament and the UA program. Besides his starring role on the championship team, Simon also earned First-Team All-America honors in 1998 and finished his career ranking seventh on the school’s points list and sixth in assists.

    “”Miles will always be a Wildcat,”” Olson said in a press release. “”He will be remembered as a competitor, as a leader and a winner. We appreciate his efforts as an assistant on our staff, and as we move forward, we wish him the best of luck.””

    With the reassignment of former interim head coach Kevin O’Neill to a fundraising role in the department, the program now has two assistant coaching positions to fill on a staff that will look much different from last year’s.

    The opening for Simon’s former job has not been posted on the school’s Human Resources site as of yesterday, but Livengood said it would probably be up today. O’Neill’s old spot has now been posted for the requisite week before a hiring can be made.

    Former ASU assistant Russ Pennell told his Arizona Premier AAU team last week that he would be taking a position on the staff.

    Pennell has committed to coach his AAU team in this weekend’s Cactus Classic in McKale Center, and he cannot officially sign a contract with Arizona and still coach the AAU team. The school, however, could announce his hiring but hold off on him signing the contract until after the event
    Livengood said headway would be made on that situation “”very, very soon.””

    Potential candidates for the position Simon formerly held include Denver Nuggets assistant coach Mike Dunlap, former UA assistant Rodney Tention and former Wildcat player and director of basketball operations Reggie Geary.

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