It’s rare for a coach to start his coaching career somewhere, succeed, leave for another chance, and then return 13 years later to where it all began.
The Enquirer confirmed Saturday that Sean Miller will return to Xavier University as head coach of men’s basketball. The news was first reported by Pete Tamil and Jeff Borzello.
Miller, 53, was also in talks with South Carolina.
“Xavier is delighted to have Sean Miller and his family back at Victory Parkway,” Xavier Sports Director Greg Christopher said in a statement. “Shaun is an outstanding college basketball coach and a sure-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 deal is for six years.
Miller, who was Xavier’s top choice when he split on Wednesday from Travis Steele, was Xavier’s assistant coach from 2001 to 2004. He was the head coach for the Knights from 2004-09, where he led Xavier to four NCAA championships, the Elite Eight and the Sweet Sixteen.
He then left for Arizona, where he went on to do well with seven NCAA Championship games, including three Elite Championships, two Sweet Sixteens, and five Pac-12 Conference Championships.
“Amy and I are humbled to get back to Xavier,” Miller said. “Xavier and the Big East Conference hold special places 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 been doing things the right way. This is a great opportunity for us to build on the successful tradition of Xavier and take the program to new heights. I will have more to say at my introductory press conference about what I’ve been through the past few years to get to this point and my plan for moving forward.”
more:Some clarity about Sean Miller and the search for the next Xavier basketball coach
Miller was fired by Arizona in April of 2021 after an NCAA investigation into alleged violations.
There are clear questions that will still need to be answered regarding any potential penalties Miller may face once the Arizona wrongdoing case, which is still pending, receives a final ruling from the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. Obviously, Xavier was comfortable enough with the situation to make the move.
Miller has been charged with a Level 1 violation in Arizona for failing to police two assistant coaches who are accused of accepting monetary bribes and arranging fraudulent academy scripts for players. It remains unclear how long Miller can be suspended.
Christopher addressed the NCAA investigation into Miller and his time in Arizona with The Enquirer: “Xavier University is a first-class institution with a high-integrity basketball program, committed to winning and compliance.
“While the NCAA investigation at the University of Arizona is troubling, we are convinced that Sean has learned and grown from his time in Arizona. However, we understand that Sean may receive penalties once the case is fully adjudicated later this year.”
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in,” Christopher added, a quote attributed to Haruki Murakami, the Japanese writer of postmodern literature. “We welcome Sean back to Xavier, not only because he is an outstanding college coach and a sure winner, but because we are confident he will be a better coach after weathering this storm. Now let’s shift our focus to tomorrow and support (interim coach) Jonas (Hayes) and our NIT team against Florida. “.
There is nothing official yet on the date of Miller’s introductory press conference.
Xavier said Miller will not be in Xavier’s home game on Sunday against Florida in the second round of the National Invitational Championship. Hayes will continue to train Xavier for the remainder of NIT.