Pac-12 Basketball News: Arizona Fires Coach Sean Miller

FBI investigation and Wildcats' mediocre performance the past three years led to dismissal
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Arizona has fired basketball coach Sean Miller, the school announced Wednesday. Miller had one year left on his contract, and the school said it would honor Miller's existing contract.

Associate head coach Jack Murphy will serve as interim head coach until a permanent successor is named.

Miller had been at Arizona since 2009 and he led the Wildcats to seven NCAA tournament berths and three Elite Eight appearances. Arizona won at least a share of five Pac-12 regular-season championship in Miller's 12 seasons as head coach.

However, the Wildcats finished no better than fifth in each of the past three seasons, going 29-27 in conference play in that span.

A bigger issue was that Arizona basketball was involved in a 2017 federal investigation into corruption in college basketball. Former assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery after being accused of accepting $20,000 to direct Arizona players to sports agent Christian Dawkins.

An FBI tape recorded Richardson telling Dawkins that Miller was paying $10,000 a month for former player DeAndre Ayton. Miller denied paying players to attend Arizona.

The NCAA charged the school with five Level I violations. Miller was charged for not demonstrating "that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance and monitored his staff."

Arizona self-imposed a one-year postseason ban for this past season.

ESPN reported that Arizona officials had been considering a contract extension for Miller, but the Board of Regents would not approve it because of the ongoing NCAA issues.

Cal has had little success against Arizona when Miller was its coach. The Bears have lost the last nine meetings with the Wildcats and 13 of the last 14.

"We appreciate Sean's commitment to our basketball program and to the university,'' Arizona athletics director Dave Heeke said in a statement released by the school. "After taking the many factors involved into account, we simply believe that we need a fresh start and now is the time. I want to thank Sean, Amy and their sons for their service to the university and wish them the very best in the future.''


Cover photo of Sean Miller by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports