Archie Miller leaving 'special place'

Archie Miller talked to about the process of getting hired by Dayton, his experience at Arizona, what he learned from older brother Sean Miller, and more.

Archie Miller leaving 'special place' It's been a whirlwind week and a half for Archie Miller, who went from the associate head coach of Arizona and seeing the Wildcats come one shot away from the Final Four to being named Dayton's head coach that quickly.

On March 28, Georgia Tech hired Dayton head coach Brian Gregory, and from there it didn't take Miller long to become seriously involved in the process.

"It happened extremely fast," Archie said. "We lost a heartbreaker to UConn on Saturday and didn't get back until really late. Sunday was a day where we tried to gather ourselves and on Monday we regrouped to try and get ready for recruiting.

"Dayton contacted Sean and said they had interest, which went from a conversation with Sean to them with me, and then I got an opportunity to sit down in front of them. That led to a separate conversation later in the week, which led to a trip face to face in Cincinnati to them offering me the job.

"At that point in time I accepted it. As crazy as it sounds, I became a head coach and had a press conference in five or six days."

Just 32 years old, it was Archie's first time going through the process of becoming a head coach and he's thankful he had his older brother along to help him.

"He was very helpful," Archie said of Sean. "What really helped me through the whole deal was the respect level he had for Dayton. He had tremendous respect for the program through his rivalry and the opponent that Dayton was when he was at Xavier.

"He also knows the lay of the land here. He knew it's a chance of a lifetime for me in terms of where I'm starting at. He was helpful but more than anything he was supportive. Having a guy like him was really helpful."

On Sunday, Miller had his press conference being introduced as the next head coach of Dayton and he's already hit the ground running as head coach.

Dayton loses some key players off this past year's team, but after what Miller went through in helping rebuild the UA program, he definitely has the experience to make sure his team is going in the right direction and fast.

Archie reflects proudly on how quickly the UA staff rebuilt the program.

"What we had to do I knew would take so much effort, execution, recruiting, development and all those things that we talk about," Miller said.

"Our rapid improvement, the way our team developed over the course of the year, from when we got there when we had six or seven guys in our locker room to being a shot from the Final Four, I didn't think that rate of success would happen so fast.

"It took a lot of effort to get to that level but at the same time, with great success comes recognition. Sean has a saying to the players but that also applies to the staff: Great success leads to individual accolades. I'm thankful that the same opportunity I had that led me to Arizona led me to this."

When Archie and the other coaches arrived at Arizona they were walking into a messy situation. Taking the situation they were given and turning it into such a successful turnaround is something Archie is proud of.

"My two year experience at Arizona, starting from the rebuilding process over that first year, was one of the greatest experiences I've ever felt," Archie said. "Just how we came together as a staff with a purpose with the players executing and watching them grow. Just having an opportunity to make a heck of a run at a place as special as Arizona.

"One of the things I'll always remember were those first couple months and how hard it was, then going through the first season, from our improvement that spring. We worked like crazy to get our players better.

"One of the things that I had great confidence in is that from everything we did at Arizona, I'm going to have a great philosophy and gameplan for how I'm going to handle things here."

Leaving his brother wasn't the only difficult part of taking the Dayton job, as Archie also had to say goodbye to players on the team he coached and recruits, as well as current UA signees and targets.

Their response to his departure is something that has made leaving easier.

"Things happened fast and it's been hard to connect with everybody," Miller said. "Obviously I have a personal relationship with all the recruits because the way we recruit, we do it as a team, we don't just do it as my guy/your guy. They're all our guys.

"I've heard from every guy on our team at Arizona, I've heard from all the recruits, and I've heard from all the recruits families in some form or fashion, some of which I've been able to connect with and some of which I haven't been able to connect back with, but I think that's one of the most gratifying things.

"The way we recruit players, when they reach back on certain levels, that's as gratifying as actually coaching them."

The opportunity to coach with Sean for two years is something Archie is thankful for, not only because it's his brother, but because of everything he learned in the process.

"One of the things about Sean is that he doesn't only develop players, but he develops his coaches too," Archie said.

"Don't be surprised if later on, all of the guys on his staff and those who are with him are successful on some level just because he's so thorough and foolproof and believes in what he does so much that the assistants believe in it, the players believe in it and all of the sudden the culture is created and it runs itself.

"To me, being able to be around him every day for two years, seeing how he plans and approaches his games, how he runs his program year round, 24/7, that's something mesmerizing to me. If I can do things half the way he did, I'm gonna be successful."

While Archie Miller is moving on to the next stage of his life, he'll think back fondly of his time in Tucson and know that his two years at UA were instrumental in him being able to take this next step in his coaching career.

"I love the guys on the team and I loved coaching them," Archie said. "The guys I coached with are like family to me, all the way around. I have a lot of great friends in the town that treated me and my family great.

"The University of Arizona will always be a special place to me just because of what it meant when I went there and what it felt like to be there. I'll always follow those players and I'll always have relationships with them. They know that if they ever need me that they can call and at the same time if I ever need anything, I'll call them.

"As exciting as it is to be here, it is a little bittersweet because I'm leaving such a great place."

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