It’s rare for a coach to start their head coaching career in one place, be successful, leave for another opportunity, then return 13 years later to where it all began.
Sean Miller will return to Xavier University as head coach of men’s basketball, The Enquirer confirmed on Saturday. The news was first reported by Pete Thamel and Jeff Borzello.
Miller, 53, was also in talks with South Carolina.
“Xavier is thrilled to welcome Sean Miller and his family to Victory Parkway,” Xavier’s athletic director Greg Christopher said in a statement. “Sean is an elite college basketball coach and a proven winner who understands the expectations, traditions and values of Xavier and the Big East Conference. He will bring a high level of energy and excitement to our program and he will do it the right way.
Christopher told The Enquirer that Miller’s contract was for six years.
Miller served as Xavier’s assistant coach from 2001 to 2004. He was the Musketeers’ head coach from 2004 to 2009, taking Xavier to four NCAA tournaments, an Elite Eight and a Sweet Sixteen.
Then he left for Arizona, where he continued to rack up quality results with seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Elite Eights, two Sweet Sixteens, and five Pac-12 Conference championships.
“Amy and I are honored to return to Xavier,” Miller said. “Xavier and the Big East Conference both hold a special place in my heart. I have enjoyed my experience competing at the highest level in the Big East as a player and have always dreamed of being a head coach in the best basketball league in the country.
“Xavier has always done things the right way. This is an incredible opportunity for us to build on Xavier’s tradition of success and take the program to new heights. I will have more to say during my talk introductory press release on what I’ve been through the past few years to get to this point and my plan for moving forward.
Continued:Some clarification on Sean Miller and the search for Xavier Basketball’s next head coach
Miller was fired by Arizona in April 2021 after an NCAA investigation into alleged infractions.
Miller, who was Xavier’s first choice once he decided to part ways with Travis Steele on Wednesday, will return to training where he started his head coaching career.
There are clear questions yet to be answered regarding the potential penalties Miller could face once the Arizona violations case, which is still pending, receives a final decision from the independent liability resolution process. . Clearly, Xavier was comfortable enough with the situation to make the move.
Miller is charged with a Level I violation, and it’s unclear how long he could be suspended.
Christopher addressed the NCAA investigation of Miller and his time in Arizona with The Enquirer: “Xavier University is a top-notch institution with a high-integrity basketball program, which is committed to both win and comply.
“While the NCAA investigation at the University of Arizona is troubling, we are confident that Sean has learned and grown from his time in Arizona. That said, we understand that Sean could face sanctions once the case will be fully heard later this year.”
Christopher added, “When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who came in,” a quote he attributed to Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer of postmodern literature. “We welcome Sean to Xavier, not only because he is an elite college coach and a proven winner, but because we are confident he will be an even better coach after weathering this storm. Now, let’s focus on tomorrow and support (interim head coach) Jonas and our team in the NIT against Florida.
There’s nothing official about the date of Miller’s introductory press conference yet.