Miller key component of Arizona's success

While Sean Miller leaving Tucson is no certainty, Arizona would certainly be hurt by his departure.

If you're anything like me, then your head is still spinning from the past 24 hours of speculation surrounding Sean Miller and his alleged involvement with Maryland.

On Friday, the rumors surrounding Arizona's head man were all over the place. Some reported that he would be returning to the Wildcats, others that he was already on his way out. It was reported he was Maryland's first choice, and other information had him behind Mike Brey, Jamie Dixon, and others.

The Baltimore Sun reported late Friday night that Miller is not the front runner for the Maryland job, and that the school is waiting to hear from another candidate about its vacancy. This follows an earlier report by The Sun that Miller was the frontrunner for the job.

No matter what the reports are saying, only one thing is for sure; and that is that nothing is for sure.

What we know is that Miller met with Athletic Director Greg Byrne on Friday, but there has been nothing official resulting from that meeting. Most inside of the athletic department remain confident they'll retain their man, but others aren't as certain.

Exhausting, isn't it? Coaching searches usually are. We all remember how the toll that brought Miller to Tucson took on everyone, and here we are just 758 days removed from Jim Livengood announcing Sean Miller as the head coach of the Wildcats.

This isn't the first time Arizona fans have fretted over losing their star coach. Those who were alive remember when in 1989, Kentucky Athletic Director C.M. Newton made a run at Lute Olson. Obviously Olson retired a Wildcat, and UA fans are hoping for a similar result 22 years later.

When Livengood gave Miller the keys to the kingdom, many expected that it would be for the foreseeable future. Even the most ardent pessimists couldn't have seen a potential flight by Miller back to the East coast coming this soon. Yet, here we are.

What's happened in these 758 days?

Only an Elite Eight appearance, a Pac-10 Championship, a top five recruiting class, and more five-star talent on the way. The feats I just rattled off are not enough to encapsulate the innumerable accomplishments of Sean Miller, who is arguably the most widely loved man in Tucson these days.

Another thing that cannot be understated is Miller's importance to the program he has worked tirelessly to bring out from obscurity.

Sean Miller is the face of the program. He's smart, well-spoken, a tireless worker and is someone that mothers feel comfortable handing their sons over to.

Many wondered how Miller would fare on the West Coast due to his lack of experience recruiting the area, but he has quickly answered that question by signing four players from Los Angeles, including Derrick Williams, and another from Northern California in Josiah Turner, and is poised to bring in even more players from the Golden State.

He's protected his turf by bringing in players like Daniel Bejarano and Nick Johnson, and making a splash with prospective recruits like Chris Thomas, and although things with the former did not quite pan out as planned, he's proved he can keep the top in-state talent at home.

Simply stated, there is not a head coach not named Calipari or Krzyzewski, recruiting at the level that Miller is right now. From East to West, prospects are intrigued by what he's doing right no.

But above all that, Sean Miller is important to Wildcat fans across the country for restoring the hope and promise that was so wide spread throughout Arizona Basketball during the Lute Olson era.

After all, he's out performing the man that defines the program, with 14 more wins and levels of success that took Olson much longer to achieve.

For the years between Olson and Miller, recruits had no interest in playing for UA. Seats in McKale Center went unused, and gradually Arizona fell from the ranks of the elite and was transformed into a program on the brink of falling into the pre-Lute levels of disappointment.

Virtually overnight, Miller restored that Wildcat pride. That Arizona gear that had made its way into the back of the closet re-emerged as quickly as the team itself. Peoples' faith was renewed, and in just two seasons, Arizona reclaimed its position as a basketball powerhouse.

Yet, here we are again. Still glowing from an Elite Eight appearance, the excitement level surrounding the program has been reduced to a panic meter that is at an all-time high.

The rumors continue to swirl, but as of this article going up, Sean Miller is still the head coach at Arizona. For how much longer, no one knows. But when he puts down his head tonight, it will be as the team's head coach.

The empire that Miller is currently constructing is definitely under duress, but that definitely does not mean that it's destroyed.


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