Pasternack excited for opportunity

Former New Orleans head coach Joe Pasternack is headed to Arizona as an assistant coach. talked with Pasternack about why he took the job, what we can expect, and more.

New Orleans head coach Joe Pasternack is headed to Arizona to replace Archie Miller and Pasternack could not be happier about the situation.

"I am really excited to be a part of one of the elite programs in America and work for one of the top coaches in all of college basketball in Sean Miller," Pasternack told

Pasternack admits that he did not know Arizona head coach Sean Miller when the search for an assistant started, but wanted to talk to him based on his success.

"I didn't know him very well before this and just to have an opportunity to get to know him, his philosophy, his game plan, his record speaks for himself," Pasternack said. "Wherever he goes, he has had incredible success and you never know why that happens. I really wanted to see why.

"What he did at Xavier was incredible, what he did at two years at Arizona is unbelievable, and when I met with him I found out why. I was blown away."

Upon meeting with Miller, Pasternack was impressed to the point where he wanted to work with him in the future.

"He is the total package as an unbelievable teacher, leader of young men, coach, and also recruiter," Pasternack said. "For me, I wanted to be part of something and learn from him and help Arizona and him win a national championship."

Pasternack had success while at New Orleans, but his task became difficult when Hurricane Katrina hit.

"For me personally, when we got here, we wanted to put the University of New Orleans back on the college basketball map like when Tim Floyd was here going to NCAA tournaments," he said. "We were on the verge of doing that. Our first year we were very successful and went 19-12 and beat N.C. State, which was a top 25 team.

"We were really going and had a really good recruiting class, but they released all of our players because of financial reasons due to Hurricane Katrina. Because of the Hurricane, they financially could not support a Division I program."

The fact that the basketball program did not have a lot of support eventually began to wear on Pasternack and the Arizona opening presented a great opportunity.

"After my third year, it was just every year was working up hill and a very difficult situation, but I wanted to fight through it," he said. "Ultimately, it is an unbelievable opportunity to get back into college basketball's elite status and you look at a lot of programs, when I was at Indiana with Coach Knight, basketball meant something.

"I came and studied Arizona basketball over the past month and a half and I saw that Arizona was like the Indiana basketball of the west coast, where college basketball is dominant. The Arizona tradition along with Sean Miller is the reason why I said I passed on a lot of opportunities to say that this is the one I want to be a part of."

Pasternack is unaware of what his role will be at Arizona, but says that he is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

"I have not really gone over the details of my role, but whatever my role is and whatever Coach Miller has me do, I think I will do it to serve the program and help the program any way I can," Pasternack said. "From the recruiting standpoint, from an opportunity that I have been a head coach I think I can step over a chair and really help Sean in any way from that aspect, and just incredibly work hard and be loyal to Arizona basketball and Sean Miller."

In the end, Pasternack's biggest reason for joining Arizona is to be able to win at the highest level.

"That to me is one of the most attractive aspects of this situation," he said. "It has always been a dream of mine to go to a Final Four and win a national championship and I think Arizona is on the cusp of that, no question about it."

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