Arizona AD Greg Byrne has said he would not trade his collection of coaches for any in the country.
As it pertains to football and men’s basketball, he may be right to have zero interest in parting with his coaches — at least, for any in the Pac-12.
Athlonsports.com ranked the conference’s coaching tandems, and Arizona’s combo of Rich Rodriguez and Sean Miller ranks number one in the conference.
In his first season at Arizona, Rodriguez won five of his last seven games as the Wildcats ranked in the top 25 nationally in rushing, passing, total offense and scoring offense. The 8-5 season was a good indication Rodriguez may put up results more similar to his tenure at West Virginia (60-26) than his tenure at Michigan (15-22). In basketball, Sean Miller has restored stability to a program that had two one-season coaches after Lute Olson’s legendary run. Arizona’s not back to level of prominence it enjoyed through the ’90s and into the early 2000s, but Miller has already taken Arizona to an Elite Eight and has the Wildcats in contention for its second conference title in his tenure.
UCLA’s duo of Jim Mora and Ben Howland comes in second, while Cal’s tandem of first-year coach Sonny Dykes and Mike Montgomery ranks third.
Arizona State, with coaches Todd Graham and Herb Sendek, is ranked seventh.
Jokes aside about Graham’s wandering eye for open coaching jobs, he’s proven himself as a winning coach. He ended a bowl drought at Rice, won at least 10 games three times in four seasons at Tulsa and exceeded expectations with an 8-5 season and 5-4 record in the Pac-12 for the Sun Devils’ best season since 2007. After two losing seasons, Sendek has Arizona State back in NCAA Tournament contention this season. He entered the season on the hot seat, but at least for a season, he’s showing he can win in Tempe without James Harden.
That’s not exactly where the Sun Devils would like to be, but another couple of years with Graham and improved play under Sendek could have them rise in the rankings.
Trailing ASU are Washington, Oregon, Washington State, Utah and USC.