The Arizona Wildcats welcomed Sean Miller with open arms after he led Xavier to three straight Atlantic 10 Conference championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. In just his second season at Arizona (2010-11), the Wildcats went 30-8, won the Pac-10 regular-season championship and reached the Elite Eight.
An FBI investigation ultimately overshadowed his last few seasons with Arizona, which fired him in April 2021 after 12 seasons. However, he has no bad blood toward the university, he told Matt Norlander of CBS Sports:
"We had our fair share of great moments and success. I have zero bitterness toward Arizona. I have three sons that are graduating from there. Three. Every one of them had not a good experience – a great experience."
In the four years that the Wildcats dealt with the investigation, Miller finished with a record of 125-82. Deandre Ayton, Lauri Markkanen and Zeke Nnaji – to name a few – progressed to the NBA during this investigation.
Miller can pull the best out of his players and he has a great offensive mindset.
"Xavier was able to use this look with great success against Florida. Sean Miller is an excellent offensive basketball mind," Eric Fawcett tweeted.
Miller said that the FBI's investigation was a distraction that stopped the team from being able to compete at the highest level that they were capable of.
"It's hard enough to be successful when you have everything moving in the right direction," Miller said. "But when you're fighting that fight, and things aren't aligned, I think to some degree, the peace of mind is that I'm looking for a new beginning."
From September 2017 to March 2021, the NCAA charged Arizona with five Level I violations. Miller was charged for not demonstrating "that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance and monitored his staff."
Sean Miller's reunion at Xavier
Sean Miller has returned to where he made a name for himself in Ohio, at Xavier University. Before arriving in Tucson for his lengthy tenure at Arizona, he led Xavier to a 120-47 record and reached four NCAA tournaments from 2004 to 2009. This included an Elite Eight run in 2008 and a Sweet 16 run in 2009.
Coming back to lead the Musketeers has given Miller a level of closure that he had been searching for since leaving Arizona.
"Me coming back to Xavier and having this next chapter, that's a really good thing for me, because I can cheer for Arizona," Miller said. "I can watch Arizona for what it is and have no torn or mixed feelings."
Miller has led the Musketeers to a 5-3 record to start the season, and his fingerprints offensively are all over the team. They rank seventh in field goal percentage (51.4), sixth in assists (20.1) and 15th in true shooting percentage(60.9). Miller can ultimately propel Xavier back into elite status at this pace.