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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Miller’s decision reinforces love of Arizona

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

While Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller weighed the pros and cons of taking the Maryland head coaching job this past weekend, rumors of his loyalty and lack of cohesion with athletic director Greg Byrne quickly surfaced.

Grumblings that Miller yearned for East Coast basketball hit the web and some went as far as to say his family, and wife in particular, wanted out of Tucson.

But less than 48 hours after reaching a contract extension with Byrne and remaining a Wildcat, Miller put all of those rumors and false reports to rest and made sure Arizona fans knew how committed he is to the program.

“”Nobody’s happier to be a head coach at any place in the country than I am here at the University of Arizona,”” he said. “”I’m here for the long haul, unconditionally.””

Miller didn’t deny that he considered taking the job as Maryland’s head coach. The offer caused him to stop and think, but that 40-hour period only reaffirmed his allegiance to Arizona.

“”It was an opportunity that I felt in the consideration of our family and myself to at least pause and consider,”” he said. “”By doing that it also strengthens your belief on the place that you’re at.””

Miller made it clear that rumors like this won’t surface next spring, or the year after. There’s no dream job out there he’s waiting to open up, and he’s expecting to be Arizona basketball’s figurehead for years to come and with his family’s full support.

He said his three sons “”would be crushed to go anywhere else,”” and his wife loves Tucson despite reports that she wanted out due to chronic allergies.

To squash the final rumor, both Miller and Byrne were adamant that they’ve maintained a great working relationship and they’ve been working on a contract extension, staff raises and charter flights for recruiting since the end of the season.

“”Greg Byrne and I have a tremendous relationship,”” Miller said. “”We have since the moment we got here. He’s been a breath of fresh air not only for myself but I believe the entire athletic department. I don’t think there’s a more hard working, high energy, someone who really gets what college sports is today than him.

“”It’s not as if he’s been missing or we haven’t talked and all of a sudden this weekend we talked for the first time,”” Miller added. “”That is absolutely the most unfair category that he or his team can be put in. The athletic department has done everything we need to be successful.””

Miller also apologized for causing anyone to question Byrne’s commitment to the program and made it clear that he didn’t entertain the Maryland job to leverage a better contract with Arizona. He seemed to believe in every aspect of Arizona basketball, from the locker rooms, to the weight room, to the prestige of the program.

“”We don’t have to validate Arizona,”” Miller said. “”This is one of the great places in the country to be at, period.””

So despite all of the rumors and false reports, Miller is more than happy to be a Wildcat and his contract and the financial changes will be reviewed by the Board of Regents next month.

“”We feel like we have a very good plan moving forward from a financial standpoint for our athletic department, and that’s what we’ll be presenting to the Board of regents,”” Byrne said. “”We’re going to be open and honest with the Board just like we always are, and through that we certainly hope that there’s a good result.””

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