Sean Miller: Address to fans after ASU game 'certainly wasn't a goodbye speech'

UA's coach clarified Saturday's comments
Posted at 1:05 PM, Mar 11, 2019

Sean Miller's comments to fans after Saturday's regular-season-ending loss to ASU in McKale Center led to weekend-long speculation that the Arizona Wildcats men's basketball coach may be on his way out of Tucson.

But on Monday, Miller said his address to the Wildcat faithful was anything but a farewell.

In his postgame address to fans Saturday, Miller said "it has been an amazing honor to coach in McKale Center for the last 10 years" and "thank you for everything," Then, in his post-game press conference, Miller declined to comment when asked if he has any doubts about his future at Arizona.

On Monday, Miller was once again asked about his post-game comments.

"It certainly wasn't a goodbye speech," Miller said as the Wildcats prepare for the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. "I meant everything that I said. You have to take into consideration the context of -- I think part of me in that speech is, you know, you're overwhelmed by the fact that there's a crowd still in attendance.

"We lost to our rival. That's a small part of it. Obviously we finished our (regular) season, and it's not a successful season by any standards other than, to a large extent, I think we did about the best that we could. So, I think from that perspective, it's not like I'm pointing fingers at anybody on our team. If anything, I'm pointing a finger at myself. But I meant what I said in terms of, I can't imagine a fan base treating a coach any better than this fan base has treated our staff and me.

"The second part of me and how I worded what I worded was, it's also not the time to talk about the future. At that moment, I hadn't even talked to our team. It's still not the time to talk about our future. I think for us, and me the coach, it's not fair for this guy, this team -- guys like (seniors) Ryan Luther and Justin Coleman -- to talk about a period of time where they're no longer going to be here."

It's customary for Miller to address the McKale Center crowd after the final regular-season home game. Saturday's game was also Senior Day for the Wildcats, as Luther and Coleman played their final game in Tucson.

The Wildcats have had a great deal of success under Miller, including five Pac-12 regular-season championships and three Pac-12 Tournament titles. But Arizona has struggled throught its 2018-19 season, going just 17-14 overall and 8-10 in conference play. Those struggles are due in part to off-court distractions, beginning with assistant coach Book Richardson's arrest in 2017, that have cost Arizona some prized recruits.

The Wildcats' only hope to advance to the NCAA Tournament this season is to win the Pac-12 Tournament, which begins Wednesday when UA takes on USC at noon Arizona time.

Miller has lined up the nation's No. 1 recruiting class heading into next season. That class is headlined by Phoenix Pinnacle point guard Nico Mannion, who just guided Pinnacle to its second straight state championship.