It's customary for Arizona Wildcats men's basketball coach Sean Miller to address fans after the final home game of the season -- but Miller's comments after Saturday's loss to ASU at McKale Center have fueled some speculation about his future at the school.
"There's no place that's more magical than McKale Center. There's no fans in the world that are more loyal. And it has been an amazing honor to coach in McKale Center for the last 10 years. Thank you for everything," Miller said.
Here is Sean Miller’s closing comment on senior day that is fueling speculation. pic.twitter.com/G05rJsoVzS— Jason Barr KGUN (@JasonBarrTV) March 10, 2019
After he made those comments, Miller was asked in his post-game press conference whether he has any doubts about his future at Arizona.
"I'm not going to comment on that," he said.
The Wildcats have had a great deal of success under Miller, who took over the program in 2009 after legendary Wildcat head coach Lute Olson retired. He has guided the Wildcats to five Pac-12 regular-season championships, three Pac-12 Tournament titles and three Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
But Miller and his program have been placed under a microscope since 2017 when Emanuel "Book" Richardson, Miller's longtime assistant coach, was arrested on fraud charges as part of a lengthy FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Last month, Yahoo Sports reported Miller, along with LSU men's basketball coach Will Wade, have been told they will be subpoenaed for a federal trial set to begin April 22. Wade was suspended by LSU on Friday after Yahoo Sports reported a 2017 phone conversation intercepted by the FBI revealed Wade talking about an "offer" to a prospect.
The Arizona Board of Regents has held several special meetings in recent months to discuss and obtain legal advice about the future of UA men's basketball. ABOR, along with UA president Robert Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke, met in November following the conclusion of a trial in which three men were convicted of fraud for channeling secret payments to the families of top recruits. During that trial, UA was accused by multiple witnesses of offering, or preparing to offer, money for various recruits.
Richardson was one of four NCAA basketball coaches arrested and charged with felony fraud and bribery in 2017 following the FBI's lengthy investigation. No charges were brought against Miller, but in February, ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported FBI wiretaps caught Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to prized recruit and current Suns rookie Deandre Ayton. Miller made a statement calling the report false and defamatory, and multiple media outlets have since questioned the accuracy and timeline of Schlabach's report.
Miller has received the backing of Robbins and Heeke, although Miller's contract was amended in April so that he would forfeit $1 million if he is charged for a crime related to his employment or is found guilty of committing a Level 1 NCAA violation.