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Tommy Lloyd embracing challenge of Arizona head coaching job despite ‘potential obstacles ahead’

NCAA Basketball: San Diego at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The deal is officially done.

The Arizona Wildcats have formally announced the hiring of Tommy Lloyd as the new men’s basketball coach, giving him a 5-year contract that is subject to approval from the Arizona Board of Regents.

“We are thrilled that Tommy and his family are joining the Wildcat Family and reestablishing our men’s basketball program among the elite in the nation,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a news release. “After speaking with a tremendous pool of candidates, and with so many in and out of the college basketball world, it became clear that Tommy has the passion, the experience, the knowledge, the coaching and recruiting acumen and the drive to lead us to championships. He has been a big part of the incredible rise and success of Gonzaga Basketball and is well-respected for his partnership with that program’s head coach, Mark Few. We are looking forward to what’s next, and we welcome Tommy, Chanelle and their children, Liam, Sophia Marie and Maria Alexis to Tucson.”

Added UA president Dr. Robert C. Robbins: “Ultimately, Tommy rose to the top, and I am confident in the future of our men’s basketball program with him at the helm. With our women’s basketball program’s incredible run to the NCAA championship game just a week ago, and now with Tommy Lloyd taking the reins of our men’s program, I can proudly say Arizona Basketball is in good hands.”

Lloyd, 46, had spent the past 21 seasons at Gonzaga, the last 20 as an assistant coach and associate head coach, helping the Bulldogs win nearly 600 games and reach the NCAA final twice in the past five seasons. His formal title was associate head coach and he was contractually guaranteed to take over the program whenever Mark Few left for another job or retired.

Lloyd instead replaces Sean Miller, who Arizona fired on April 7 after 12 seasons. Miller went 302-109 overall and 150-68 in Pac-10/12 play from 2009-21 with at least a share of five regular season conference titles and three Pac-12 Tournament championships as well as five Sweet 16 appearances and three trips to the Elite Eight.

However, the Wildcats have only won two NCAA Tournament games since 2015, could be facing severe NCAA sanctions and have seen several players enter the transfer portal/NBA Draft since the end of the season.

“I am extremely grateful to President Robbins and Dave Heeke for the incredible opportunity to lead one of the country’s most storied men’s basketball programs,” Lloyd said in the release. “While there are certainly potential obstacles ahead for our program, I embrace the challenge as we will build on the foundation in place to compete for Pac-12 and national championships. I know how much Arizona Basketball means to the institution, its fans, its community and the state, and I cannot wait to get started. That works begin now. My family and I are excited to settle in Tucson and begin a new chapter.”

Arizona will formally introduce Lloyd at an in-person press conference at McKale Center on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. local time.