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Arizona basketball: Sean Miller ‘very, very excited’ to have Dave Heeke as Arizona’s new athletic director

Miller says Heeke reminds him of Greg Byrne

Oregon State v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Greg Byrne has moved on from the University of Arizona, but his recently-hired replacement, now-former Central Michigan athletic director Dave Heeke, might remind you of him.

Heeke apparently has similar qualities as his predecessor, according to Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller.

“I had a chance to meet him and he’s really, really good guy,” Miller said Monday at his weekly press conference. “He reminds me in some ways of Greg Byrne and maybe almost more experienced in some ways certainly than when Greg first came here. Some of the characteristics we all really liked about Greg, I think Dave has those as well.”

Those characteristics are?

“One, he’s a really good person,” Miller said of Heeke. “Easy to talk to, very down to earth, very genuine and I think he’ll fit in very, very well here and we’re excited to have him. He’s coming at a very crucial time for our program, for our athletic department and I think we’ll be in very good hands.”

Miller is impressed by Heeke’s past experience as an athletic director as well as his previous experience at a Pac-12 institution.

Heeke was the athletic director at Central Michigan for 11 years (2006-2017) and worked in Oregon’s athletic department for 18 years before that.

“I think we’re all very excited to have him,” Miller said. “His experience both as an athletic director in the Mid-American Conference at Central Michigan for a decade, that’s a wealth of experience and then additionally he was at Oregon for 18 years and learned the Pac-12 at that time, and the west coast, so I think the blend of both of those (is why) we’re excited to have him and his family here.”

Miller said he and other UA coaches, specifically women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes, were concerned about who UA would replace Byrne with, but the addition of Heeke has diminished any worries.

“We talked recently because all of us were concerned about the athletic director,” and making sure that we got somebody like Dave Heeke,” Miller said of his conversation with Barnes.

Heeke will be officially introduced to the media on Thursday.

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