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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Replacing Archie

Joe Pasternack

Time will only tell what newly hired men’s basketball assistant coach Joe Pasternack will bring to the table.

However, one thing is for certain: His wife, a former Arizona student, can finally cheer with her husband.

“”My wife went to Arizona,  she was here for the national championship,”” Pasternack said at an introductory press conference on Monday. “”I lived with a Wildcat while I was at (California). Those were interesting times, especially on game days when we were playing Arizona, to see who she was rooting for.

“”I’m very familiar with Arizona basketball (after) being at (California) for eight years, and coming to McKale (Center) wasn’t a great experience if you were on the other side. I’m excited to be on the different side of the bench now.””

Arizona’s history of success is something that Pasternack believes has helped bring the Wildcats back to the verge of competing for championships on a yearly basis.

“”What coach (Lute) Olson built, and the tradition of Arizona basketball — you just have to watch the NBA Finals to see the two national champion guards in Jason Terry and Mike Bibby … and then to see Derrick (Williams) get drafted number two — that’s exciting. I believe that Arizona is on the verge of competing for championships year in and year out like coach Olson was doing every year.””

Pasternack brings 12 years of experience to Arizona’s program, and is taking the place of Archie Miller, who was hired as the head coach at the University of Dayton in April.

In addition to eight years as an an assistant coach at California, Pasternack, a New Orleans native, was the University of New Orleans’ head coach for the past four seasons.

Though the transition from being a head coach back to being an assistant might create a power complex for some, Pasternack said he considers the shift to be an advantage.

“”Most assistants have this great itch to be a head coach,”” he said. “”Well, I’ve been a head coach, and my focus is strictly on having the chance to compete for Pac-12 championships year in and year out.

“”For me, coming from a head coach — a seat over — really helps me in the fact that I went from giving suggestions to making decisions, to now back to giving suggestions, but being able to see the broader scope.””

The opening was created in April, and, according to Pasternack, the search took months. Throughout the process, he remained patient and respected head coach Sean Miller for taking the time to make his decision, he said.

Pasternack’s ability to recruit on the West Coast is something that gave him a leg up on other potential candidates for the assistant coaching job.

“”I had very strong relationships with people out west, and even when I was in New Orleans, I recruited out west still and kept those relationships,”” Pasternack said. “”It’s been nice for me to hit the ground running, so to speak, with those relationships.””

Pasternack attributed the majority of Arizona’s success to Miller’s selectiveness in his staff.

“”It’s a great staff dynamic,”” Pasternack said. “”I think Sean (Miller) is a terrific leader, a leader of people. He’s put together a staff that has every single person working for one common goal, every single day … that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve been impressed with.””

Although Pasternack’s stay at New Orleans was short-lived, he said he plans on being at Arizona for an extended period of time.

“”I know coach Miller has two feet in — he likes to say all in — and I’m all in and I think the whole staff is,”” Pasternack said. “”We’re really excited about what could happen with Arizona basketball.””

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