With the Arizona Wildcats mired in a long losing streak and speculation about the future of the program under Sean Miller getting rampant national attention, athletic director Dave Heeke decided it was time to set the record straight.
In short, Miller is going nowhere anytime soon.
“I want to be very, very clear about it, we support this basketball program, we support these players, we support this coaching staff,” Heeke said Saturday night during halftime of Arizona’s game against the Washington State Cougars. “This place deserves nothing less than that. We’ve supported them all the way back. I think I’ve been very clear about my support for the program, support for the leadership of this program.We support Coach Miller and his leadership of this program. And anything that has been reported or has been talked about to the contrary of that is completely false. I want to be very clear on that.
“I support Coach Miller. We support Coach Miller. Those things that have been said to the contrary of that are not true.”
Heeke, who has been on the job since April 2017, said he felt it necessary to go on the record after seeing the way Arizona was getting painted in national media.
“The national spin on these (things) sometimes can be disappointing with lack of knowledge of what’s going on, truly going on,” Heeke said, citing a “lack of connection” to the program like local media end up developing. “There’s no question when the national media begins to drive a narrative, that quite frankly doesn’t exist, that’s disappointing. It’s always disappointing when someone drives the narrative that doesn’t have a full understanding.”
Heeke declined to comment on several topics, however, including anything related to reports of an NCAA investigation into Arizona’s program in connection with the ongoing federal bribery trials. He also wouldn’t speak specifically about the move to fire assistant coach Mark Phelps.
“Any time that you have to make a decision, please know it doesn’t come lightly,” Heeke said. “There’s a lot of conversation, a lot of contemplation and a lot of people that are involved in that. We continue to do the right thing when we’re faced with issues and we feel that we need to do that. When we’re faced with situations, we’ll do the right thing.
“This is an iconic brand, Arizona basketball,” he said. We’re going to do the right thing for the program, for the university.”
Asked if he’s heard from fans or boosters in an unusual way, Heeke cited Arizona leading the Pac-12 in attendance for the 35th consecutive year as a sign the fanbase remains committed to the program.
The Arizona Board of Regents has been regularly getting updates on what’s going on with the basketball program, Heeke said.
“The regents themselves have conducted their business, and we’ve just provided information as they’ve requested,” Heeke said. “As we’ve done from the very beginning about all the things we do in athletics.”
Check out Heeke’s full interview below:
Dave Heeke met with the media at halftime of the Washington State game to discuss the state of Arizona basketball. He says the school is fully supportive of Sean Miller and anything reported to the contrary is “completely false.”Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Saturday, February 9, 2019