The Arizona Wildcats held Senior Day ceremonies for Justin Coleman and Ryan Luther on Saturday, what head coach Sean Miller called a bittersweet moment.
The Wildcats had just lost a rivalry game to the Arizona State Sun Devils, putting a damper what should have been a celebratory sendoff.
Still, Miller heaped tons of praise on Coleman, Luther and their families for believing in Arizona when times were tough, then turned and thanked Arizona fans, who, for the most part, remained in their seats after the tough loss.
“There’s no place that’s more magical than McKale Center,” Miller said. “There’s no fans in the world that are more loyal. It has been an amazing honor to coach in McKale Center for the last 10 years. Thank you for everything.”
Those last two sentences led to rampant speculation across the college basketball world, with some seeing it as a farewell speech by the head coach, who is embroiled in the federal investigation into college basketball corruption and has reportedly been subpoenaed to testify in April.
Miller did not do much to calm the speculation, declining to comment when asked by a reporter if he has any doubts about his future.
Miller did have this to say, though:
“When things aren’t going well, that’s really the definition of coaching, being able to balance both and see things for what they really are. Also the time when you’re winning or you feel like good things are happening, it’s not nearly as good as it appears. And I think that in the situation we’re currently in, there’s a lot of truth in that it’s not nearly as bad as it appears as well. Being able to sell that to your team and everybody is part of the task of being a head coach and it’s not easy.”
For what it’s worth, the UA administration has been fully supportive of Miller amid the controversy, with athletic director Dave Heeke saying in February that anything reported to the contrary is “completely false.”
As for the aforementioned speculation, here are several examples among media members from across the country:
I’ll say this. If Sean Miller and Arizona negotiated a mutual parting of ways in the next few weeks, it would surprise exactly nobody in college basketball.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 10, 2019
Unless I'm misinterpreting the tone, that sounds like Sean acknowledging he probably won't be back. https://t.co/vls4VGq69P— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) March 9, 2019
He thanked the crowd for the last 10 years. Basically sounds like he knows tonight was his last game coaching this team at home https://t.co/Ex2M29NtbF— Jason Horowitz (@HorowitzJason) March 10, 2019