Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller, who put himself in the mix for the Maryland coaching position last week, said Monday that he’s in Tucson for the “long haul.”
Miller, who recently completed his second year at Arizona with an appearance in the NCAA West region final, said the opportunity to replace coach Gary Williams with the Terrapins intrigued him, although he refused to get into any details of the process.
“It was an opportunity that I really felt was in the best interests of my family and myself to at least pause and consider,” Miller said. “By doing that, it also really strengthens your belief in the place that you’re at. I paused and considered for 40 hours. …
“Nobody is happier to be head coach at any place in the country than I am here at the University of Arizona. If the deeper meaning of this weekend is that I’m here for the long haul, unconditionally, that’s what that means. I am.”
Miller and athletic director Greg Byrne held a news conference Monday morning to address the coaching situation, which will include a contract extension that will go before the Arizona Board of Regents on June 1.
Byrne did not divulge details about what adjustments there will be for Miller’s $2 million annual salary, or for the salary pool for the assistant coaches.
Byrne and Miller said they have had talks about the future of the program since the end of the season, and Miller said, “It was not my intention to leverage Greg Byrne” with the Maryland coaching opportunity.
Miller took the time to offer apologies to Byrne and his wife, Amy, who each took some heat on the internet and in social media during those 40 hours.
Some lashed out at Byrne for not doing enough to keep Miller; some assumed Amy — who now famously tweeted about her desert allergies last week — doesn’t like Tucson.
“Greg Bryne and I have a tremendous relationship,” Miller said. “We have since he got here. He’s been a breath of fresh air, not only for myself but for the entire athletic department. … We’ve talked a lot about what we need moving forward.”
Miller, while acknowledging that his East Coast roots mean something to him, said that his family loves Tucson and his three sons “would be crushed to go anywhere else … and my wife is in that same category.
“I feel bad that she had to deal with any criticism. That was very undeserved. If Greg Bryne and my wife took a hit because of me, shame on me, because that’s the furthest thing from the truth.”
Miller did add later, drawing hearty laughs, that his wife if no longer allowed to tweet. Her allergies, he said, are no worse than most.
Miller’s statements can be seen as a way to ease fans’ concerns and, even more importantly, to send a signal to recruits that he isn’t going to jump so quickly to the next job. If he’s not hotly pursuing Maryland, then there figures to be very few jobs in which he would be interested (although, you would think, there would be some).
“I’m not that guy who is going to do this next spring and the spring after,” he said of considering other jobs.
“It’s not easy to just say, ‘I’m outta here.’”