Replacing Sean Miller after shooting the top 9 candidates in Arizona
Arizona released basketball head coach Sean Miller on Wednesday, ending his 12-year career with the program.
The Wildcats had a range of 302-109, and Elite Eight had three appearances. Arizona did not participate in the 2020-21 NCAA Championship due to a ban imposed on itself, and the next coach may have more NCAA falls in the future.
It’s still a great job inside the Pac-12. The Wildcats have been looking for that first appearance in the Final Four since 2001. Here is a list of coaches who can entertain this top job.
Candidates for Arizona leadership
The best bets
Damon Stoudamire, Pacific coach
Stoudamire would be the most popular name for wild boar fans. He was the guard for the Arizona Final Four team, had a successful NBA career, and spent the last five seasons as a Pacific coach. He started rebuilding with the Tigers team, who are 32-19 years old in the last two seasons. It’s a big step forward, but Stoudamir can be successful in the long run.
Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech Coach
Pastner would be another candidate in the family. He played for the 1997 national championship team and was an assistant in Arizona from 2002 to 2008. He has collected 249-148 records at Memphis and Georgia Tech. Pastner’s teams have played five tournaments and haven’t reached Sweet 16, so that would be a concern. Georgia Tech also banned the post season last season
Miles Simon, LA Lakers assistant
Think Juwan Howard in Michigan. Simon, also a member of that team in the 1997 national championship, spent four seasons as an assistant in Arizona from 2005 to 2008. He has been the Lakers ’assistant coach since 2017, and the LeBron James connection alone is enough to sign him up for contract. Simon knows the program and knows what it’s like to be the star of a national championship team. He is the leading candidate as a result.
Joe Pasternack, UC-Santa Barbara coach
It will depend on who will try to move away from Arizona Miller’s time. Pasternack served as an assistant in Arizona from 2011 to 2017, and has taken advantage of the opportunity he has made with UC-Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are 88-34 over the past four seasons and will look like they will be in the NCAA Championship. That success could easily have followed Pasternack to Tucson.
Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga’s assistant coach
It is clear that Mark Few will not be leaving Gonzaga soon. And one of his main assistants? Lloyd has been with the Bulldogs since 2001, and the 46-year-old will soon take the next step. Gonzaga was created as the main program for the West Coast program, and Lloyd can bring those lessons to Pac-12.
John Beilein, Big Ten Network analyst
Beilein immediately lends credibility to a program, and his name appears on every major coach search. Beilein, 68, helped revive the Michigan program, and after a brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was still struggling to become a coach. This worked for UCLA and Mick Cronin. Beilein is the best management coach, but he may be content to be in the studio at this point in his career.
Brian Dutcher, San Diego State Coach
If the Wildcats can’t get to Beilein, then they can try the former Michigan assistant. Dutcher spent most of his coaching career chasing Steve Fisher in Michigan and San Diego State, making his first coaching job a success in the last four seasons with a 96-31 record in San Diego State. Dutcher, 61, could be brought to Arizona. It doesn’t have the reputable cache of other candidates, but that shouldn’t matter.
Bryce Drew, Grand Canyon coach
Drew’s name is very hot considering what Baylor has achieved this season, and Bryce led the Grand Canyon NCAA Championship appearance. The Antelope did just that with a stifling defense that averaged 62.1 points per game. Drew was 40-59 for three seasons at Vanderbilt, but there are more resources to work in Arizona. It’s another rental that can excite the hobby.
Kyle Smith, Washington State coach
Smith is another name that wouldn’t create too much excitement, but it might be a good hire. Washington State almost. He’s set a record 500 in the last two seasons, and the program is on the rise. Smith made five of five wins in 20 seasons before Columbia and San Francisco, and that change to ground renewal could be what Arizona needs.