Sean Miller has officially become Xavier’s former head coach and Arizona’s current one. This news is a bit shocking in the fact that he has made so much progress at Xavier, but not jaw dropping in the fact that he’s an excellent head coach.
If Miller was going to go anywhere I thought he would be looking for the Pittsburgh job to open up. It is surprising that he left for Tucson and didn’t wait for Pitt' which is his alma mater.
I would have loved to see him stay in Cincinnati; he was certainly one of the top coaches in Ohio going 120-47 in his five seasons at Xavier. He coached the Musketeers to three straight regular season conference championships, four straight tournament bids, a sweet sixteen, and an elite eight.
With the University of Cincinnati doing so poorly, Coach Miller has helped keep Cincinnati watching college basketball. He loved the city and expressed it in his press conference.
He said, “During the last three days I have gone through a very difficult decision-making process. I love Xavier University. Mike Bobinski, the director of athletics, has become a close friend of mine, and my players are like a part of my family. These factors made it hard for me to even consider leaving Xavier. However, I believe I have the opportunity of a lifetime to become the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona. It’s a school that has competed for a national championship for more than two decades. To be in charge of a new era of Arizona basketball, and to build the program toward winning a national title again, is where my heart is now. I look forward to this new step in my family’s life in Tucson.”
This is not the first time a great coach of this program has left to take an unbeatable offer. Thad Matta left for Columbus after taking the Muskie’s to the Elite Eight in 2004. He didn’t get to much love when Ohio State played Xavier in the tournament in 2007. The Buckeyes beat the Musketeers in overtime 78-71.
Xavier has to move on and make good decisions to keep this a winning program. With Sean Miller gone prospects are taking closer looks at other schools and seeing who Xavier will sign to be the next head coach.
They can’t take too much time or these recruits will look somewhere else. This isn’t a team that is just looking to beat UC in the Crosstown Shootout. It’s a team now looking for a National Championship and fans are waiting for it.
The one thing I didn’t agree with Miller saying was, "I would never leave Xavier unless it was a place where I really felt you could win a national championship. When I say that, it does not mean you can't win one in Cincinnati. Arizona is a place that has done it before."
You can build a program up anywhere as long as you can recruit and teach the players. He doesn’t need to lie, the seven year $18 million contract has everything to do with it.
I do think he made the right decision for him and his family and I wish him the best of luck, but Xavier needs to find a very good coach quickly or this could spell disaster for this program.