Most teams do not earn entry in the NCAA Tournament unless they are led by a swell coach. It would seem almost silly to expect a program to appear in the Sweet 16 twice in three years had it not been for some great leadership.
I guess all of that makes Sean Miller a pretty awesome guy. Miller, who is only 44 years old, is in his fourth season with the Arizona Wildcats. Most of those years have been tremendously successful.
Miller’s journey to coach Arizona should not be a huge shock. While his roots were in the state of Pennsylvania, his basketball lifeblood was always all over the country. The former Pac 12 Coach of the Year has had assistant jobs in the states of Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania all before getting his first head coaching job with the Xavier Musketeers.
It was with Xavier that Miller started to show the college basketball world his abilities. In five years with the program, Miller amassed an astounding 120-47 overall record. For those behind on their mathematical skills, Miller won .719 percent of the games he coached.
He also brought the Musketeers to the big dance four out of his five years with the program, reaching the Sweet 16 portion twice. One of those two years, he even took them to the Elite Eight.
The suave coach has already taken the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in his short time with the university. Now that they are in the Sweet 16 again, you would be hard-pressed to find another coach who has had the amount of success as Miller with two programs during that short of a time frame.
The commodity that is being a good, young coach in college makes Miller a hot-name. Arizona is not some stepping-stone program, however, so when schools come calling (which they will), it will not be a given that he will entertain the idea of leaving the Wildcats.
Still, if he were to take another team to the Elite Eight, one would have to assume that his name will be popping up for every coaching vacancy in the country.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone