I didn’t even consider the possibility.
When Gary Williams abruptly retired as head coach of Maryland basketball, there was not a thought in my mind that the decision would have a ripple effect that would reach Tucson, Arizona.
That was Thursday, and although Sean Miller’s name had been linked to the job, I laughed off the possibility, instead saying how happy I was that other schools wanted to hire away our coach. After all, nobody would want him if he wasn’t doing a good job — which he is — so it’s only natural that other schools would be interested. Of course, there was no way he would leave Tucson, not after a Pac-10 title, appearance in the Elite 8 and top 10 recruiting class on its way.
Then Friday arrived, and with it came a bunch of speculation and rumors, ranging everywhere from Miller’s wife not liking Tucson because of allergy problems to Maryland being Sean’s “dream job.” Ruh roh.
Following reports Saturday that it was all but a formality, I mentally began to prepare myself for one of the biggest let-downs in UA basketball history, one that would rival Illinois in 2005 and UConn not long ago. Then came this tweet:
Breaking news: Internet speculation wrong. Sean Miller is staying at Arizona as our hoops coach. #BearDown
But really, this weekend signaled a lot of things for Arizona and its fans, and where you fall along the isle will determine what exactly you take from the experience.
On the upside, Miller has come out and said the flirtation with Maryland only helped re-affirm what he already felt, which was that Arizona was the perfect opportunity for him.
“Nobody is happier to be head coach at any place in the country than I am here at the University of Arizona,” he said. “If the deeper meaning of this weekend is that I’m here for the long haul, unconditionally, that’s what that means. I am.”
Recruits may feel that if he turned down a good chance to head back East now he won’t ever leave, and being the most talked about coach in the nation probably doesn’t hurt his street cred when trying to land the nation’s top recruits.
On the downside, maybe this shows that while Miller really does have interest in going back east, Maryland proved to be a bad fit.