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Arizona fans mixed over new coach pick

Citizen Staff Writer



University of Arizona freshman Gallien Culbertson likes the choice of the new basketball coach, but he thinks the pick might hurt the school in the short term.

“Sean Miller is a good coach, but I’m not sure how good a recruiter he’ll be since he’ll be on the West Coast,” the 19-year-old business major said.

Other fans had similar views Monday, when Miller decided to leave Xavier to come to UA to replace Lute Olson.

Justin Steele, a 27-year-old graduate student in the Eller College of Management, thinks USC’s Tim Floyd would have been better prepared to hit the ground running on recruiting, because he has West Coast contacts.

“Short term I think it’s going to be harder to get kids to come here,” Steele said.

Steele’s friend, Adam Aronoff, isn’t so sure.

He thinks Miller might widen the potential pool of recruits because of his connections in the Midwest, where athletes might be dreaming of the sunny West.

“It would be an easy sell,” Aronoff said.

Greg Crawford, 27, thinks recruiting will be crucial to Miller’s success.

“He’d better be able to recruit,” he said. “I think (Lute) Olson brought a lot of talent to the program, because he was like a dynasty . . . I think (recruiting) is a lot of the strength of the program,” he said.

As for this year, Aronoff and Culbertson agree the choice is unlikely to have major impact.

“The entire recruiting class for this year is gone anyway,” Aronoff said.

Art history Professor Albert Stewart, a self-described “huge fan” who goes to every home game, would have liked to see Floyd get the job. He is a little concerned about the $2 million plus per year that Miller will get.

“I know museums are losing curators because they don’t have money, so it seems a little unbalanced. But if it brings in money, it’s great,” Stewart said.

The money is not an issue for Steele.

“God, no. I’d pay more for (Michigan State’s Tom) Izzo or (University of Kentucky’s Rick) Pitino,” Steele said.

Aronoff likes Miller’s age: 40.

“I think it brings long-term security. We got somebody who can be there 20 or 30 years,” he said.

Air National Guard aircraft electrician Chris Crawford doesn’t like the choice. He thinks UA should have stuck with interim coach Russ Pennell, who carried the team to the NCAA Tournament for its 25th straight year.

“I don’t know why they didn’t keep the guy who took them to the Sweet 16,” he said.

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