Arizona has parted ways with head coach Sean Miller after 12 years with the program, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde confirmed on Monday.
Miller had one year left on his contract entering the 2021–22 season. He reportedly met with Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins and AD Dave Heeke this morning before a decision was reached, per Stadium's Jeff Goodman.
Miller's future with Arizona came into question in the wake of the federal probe of corruption in college basketball in 2017. He signed a contract extension with the Wildcats that year.
Emanuel "Book" Richardson, a former Wildcats staffer, was among the four college assistant coaches arrested and charged in the probe. He pleaded guilty to accepting $20,000 in bribes in exchange for steering Arizona players to aspiring agent Christian Dawkins and financial manager Munish Sood. Richardson spent three months in federal prison.
Richardson also reportedly told Dawkins that Miller was paying Deandre Ayton $10,000 to make sure he would sign with the Wildcats. Federal prosecutors played the intercepted phone call in court in May 2019.
Some wiretaps of conversations between Richardson and Dawkins seemed to implicate Miller in pay-for-play situations. Arizona briefly suspended Miller in early 2018 when his name first was being directly tied to potential violations. After being reinstated, he said, "I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this great program. I have never paid a recruit, prospect or their family to come to Arizona, and I never will."
Last October, Arizona was charged with nine violations by the NCAA, including five Level I allegations. The Level I allegations reportedly included Miller violating head coach control responsibility, as well as a lack of institutional control charge against the athletic department as a whole.
The nine allegations against Arizona are the most to be publicly known for any of the 10 schools that have been charged with NCAA violations in the wake of the scandal.
The Wildcats finished the 2020–21 season at 17–9 and 11–9 in Pac-12 play. They were not eligible for the conference or NCAA tournaments this season due to its self-imposed ban. Despite the Wildcats' self-imposed penalty, the NCAA can still further sanction the program if it so chooses.
Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke noted Miller's firing was not due to the federal probe, but rather the team's struggles in recent years.
"Because the program is not meeting those high expectations, I felt it was necessary to make a change in leadership," Heeke said on Wednesday.
During Miller's 12 years at Arizona, he has amassed a 302–109 record. Miller guided the Wildcats to five regular-season Pac-12 championships, three conference tournament titles and seven NCAA tournament appearances.
Miller will likely join the NBA as an assistant coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. He's expected to make the transition during the offseason and at least one team has shown interest.