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UA’s Sean Miller says address to fans after ASU loss wasn’t goodbye

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona coach Sean Miller thanked fans following Saturday’s loss to Arizona State in an emotional address but on Monday told reporters that it wasn’t a “goodbye speech” as the program remains mired in the federal investigation into college basketball.

“It certainly wasn’t a goodbye speech. I meant everything that I said,” Miller said. “I think part of me in that speech is you know, you’re overwhelmed by the fact that there’s a crowd in attendance. We lost to our rival. That’s a small part of it. Obviously, we finished our season — it’s not a successful season by any standards … I meant what I said in terms of I can’t imagine a fanbase treating a coach any better than this fanbase has treated our staff and me.”

Postgame, Miller refused to answer questions about his future after he addressed fans who stayed at McKale Center following the loss to rival Arizona State.

“There’s no place that’s more magical than the McKale Center,” Miller said in the address. “There’s no fans in the world that are more loyal.

“It has been an amazing honor to coach in McKale Center for the last 10 years. Thank you for everything.”

The emotional address came following a difficult regular season for the Wildcats, who finished ninth in the Pac-12 and remained in the center of the NCAA’s college basketball recruiting scandal.

Miller and the Arizona program have been mired in controversy since February 2018 when a report from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach alleged Miller was heard on an FBI wiretap discussing a payment of $100,000 to ensure a commitment from former Wildcat and current Phoenix Sun Deandre Ayton.

Miller allegedly was speaking with Christian Dawkins, who was linked to a sports agency that has been implicated in the college basketball scandal that began with 10 arrests.

Dawkins and former Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson, who has since reached a plea agreement rather than standing trial, were among those arrested late last year on charges of fraud and bribery stemming from the recruitment of high school players.

This February, Arizona also began the process to fire current assistant Mark Phelps after he was found to have committed recruiting malpractice in unrelated circumstances.

Most recently, a Yahoo! Sports report said representatives of Miller have been notified that he’ll be subpoenaed for an April federal trial involving corruption in college basketball.

Miller shut down questions about that report, even telling one reporter “you can drive back to Phoenix.”

In 10 seasons since arriving from Xavier, Miller has a 264–88 (.752) record with the Wildcats.

Miller and Arizona open the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday at 12 p.m. against the USC Trojans.


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