Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller loves his football — loves his Pittsburgh Steelers and lives the rivalries from his alma mater, the Pitt Panthers.
So, it was with a mix of humor and dead-on seriousness that Miller pointed out what he would consider a flaw in new UA football coach Rich Rodriguez — he was a defensive back for West Virginia and then coached football for the Mountaineers, who are Pitt’s hated Backyard Brawl rival.
“I don’t acknowledge West Virginia,” Miller said.
“There are a few places on this planet that are irrelevant to me. That’s one of them.”
Miller is willing to overlook the West Virginia ties when it comes to Rodriguez.
It was Miller who offered Greg Byrne useful advice when he suggested that the athletic director identify two things — the coach who is the most hungry and the coach that strike the most fear around the Pac-12.
“In my opinion,” he told Byrne, “it’s Rich Rodriguez.”
Miller said he met Rodriguez briefly last week after his hiring.
“Our football program is so important, not just to our athletic department, but to our university as a whole and our great fans,” Miller said. “I think we’re so fortunate to have a sure winner, someone who has done it at the highest levels and knows what to do.
“I am still very good friends with Mike Stoops and appreciate all his hard work. We’re all excited to see Rich come in and put his stamp on the program and take our football program to continued growth. I’m excited about him being here.
“I told him, if there is anything small or big I can ever do to help him, he knows where to find me.”