Basketball

Sean Miller Talks About His New Gig At Arizona, Herb Sendek And Leaving Xavier

by: Brian Christopher

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Sean Miller has been an up-and-coming college basketball coach for some time. He followed Thad Matta at Xavier and helped take the Musketeers to several NCAA Tournaments. Now, he’s finally gotten the “big job” that he’s been waiting on for years in the form of the head coaching position at Arizona.

There are obviously HUGE expectations at Arizona, and Miller addresses those in the following interview, along with the sudden rivalry he has with his mentor Herb Sendek (Arizona State’s coach) and what it means to succeed a coach like Lute Olson. Additionally, Miller talks about the difficulty in leaving a program like Xavier that has become a national name.

On leaving Xavier

“Me, picking up and leaving Xavier University, a lot of people out here may not understand the great tradition we had going on out there and the team we had coming back. I wasn’t going to leave there unless I felt it was one of the top places in the country to coach college basketball and at the end of the day, when you have that opportunity, it may never come again. I feel very fortunate to be here, honored to be the coach and hopeful that we can have the success here in the future that we’ve had over a quarter of the century.”

On his friend and head coach of Arizona State, Herb Sendek

“I’m rooting very hard for him because he’s a good friend and someone who has meant a lot to me…He taught me a lot and I respect him a great deal. I also understand that I’m the head coach at the University of Arizona and I understand very quickly what that rivalry means and what the Pac-10 means…When I had an opportunity to think about his success, you can see that we’re going to have to go through a similar period and I think the difference may be with us, just with the incredible tradition behind it, I think the future can be maybe even brighter here one day.”

On Coach Lute Olson

“I know Coach Olson is a Hall of Fame coach and I’m sitting at his desk right now and it’s an honor to do so, but in his first year I believe he won 3 games. So if nothing else maybe I can beat one record right away and make it a positive and get off to a better start than he did.”