Nothing is certain in the federal scandal gripping college basketball right now, but it certainly looks like Arizona head coach Sean Miller is about to go through a difficult few months.
Miller is expected to be subpoenaed in the upcoming trial of Christian Dawkins, with whom he was reportedly caught on wiretaps discussing a $100,000 payment to Deandre Ayton, and he’s already been forced to fire one assistant as the scandal encircles his program. Miller’s recruiting at Arizona faces countless questions, and the coach hasn’t seemed very enthusiastic to talk about the matter.
So, you can imagine how the coach saying “thank you for everything” to the crowd during Arizona’s final home game of the season could immediately trigger speculation that he knows this will be his final season in Tucson.
Sean Miller possibly says goodbye to Arizona fans
Following Arizona’s 72-64 loss to Arizona State, Miller took some time to address the fans.
Sean Miller just addressed the fans here at McKale Center and he ended it with this pic.twitter.com/J7hURuJgO0
— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) March 9, 2019
“There’s no place that’s more magic than the McKale Center,” Miller said. “There are no fans that are more loyal. It has been an amazing honor to coach on McKale Center for the last 10 years. Thank you for everything.”
The comment raised more than a few eyebrows in the college basketball world, as that sure doesn’t sound like something a man would say if he knows he’s coming back next season.
This comment by Sean Miller will surely spark some speculation. Talks about what an honor it has been to coach in the McKale Center the past 10 years. https://t.co/4de7xUJW0M
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 9, 2019
Very interesting comments from Sean Miller after today’s game. “It’s been an amazing honor to coach in the McKale Center for the last 10 years.” https://t.co/5aSH6pmSwp
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 9, 2019
Unless I'm misinterpreting the tone, that sounds like Sean acknowledging he probably won't be back. https://t.co/vls4VGq69P
— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) March 9, 2019
This sounds a lot like a retirement speech. https://t.co/zaKZCRsUsu
— Rush the Court (@rushthecourt) March 10, 2019
Compounding the speculation was Miller opting to not comment on how much it sounded like he was saying goodbye after the game.
Sean Miller declines to comment when asked why he got emotional thanking Arizona fans and if he’s uncertain about his future at UA. pic.twitter.com/IEv6PnikZy
— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) March 10, 2019
Obviously, none of this is concrete evidence that Miller is leaving. However, the coach clearly has something on his mind with these comments and the possibilities for what that is do not inspire confidence for his tenure continuing at Arizona.
Sean Miller’s mixed legacy at Arizona
If this is indeed it for Miller, he’ll end his Arizona career with a record of 384-134 not counting whatever happens this postseason. That’s the third highest total in Arizona history behind Lute Olson and Fred Enke.
Miller’s Wildcats made the NCAA tournament seven times, won the Pac-12 regular season title five times and won the Pac-12 tournament three times. He reached as high as No. 1 in the AP Poll and as far as the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament three different times, though he never did make it to the Final Four.
Still, that’s a decent run for a coach who inherited a program looking for its fourth head coach in four seasons, but it’s hard to imagine the current scandal facing Arizona won’t end up being a major part of Miller’s legacy.
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