Arizona Basketball

Potential top 5 coaching candidates for Arizona job

Arizona announced on Wednesday that it will be parting ways with coach Sean Miller after 12 seasons as the head basketball coach.

During Miller’s time at Arizona, he was 302-102 while winning five conference titles, three Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards with seven NCAA tournament appearances, including five Sweet Sixteens and three Elite Eights.

Over the last three seasons, while dealing with the FBI investigation into the corruption of college basketball, Miller was 55-35, including missing the 2021 NCAA tournament due to self-imposed sanctions.

The task of hiring Arizona’s next basketball coach will be up to athletic director Dave Heeke and university president Robert C. Robbins.

Here’s five potential candidates for the Arizona coaching job:

1. Tommy Lloyd

If Arizona fans aren’t familiar with Tommy Lloyd, they should be, as he is one of the favorites to land the Arizona job. Lloyd has spent the past 20 seasons at Gonzaga as an assistant/associate head coach under coach Mark Few. During his time with Few, Lloyd has established himself as one of the best international recruiters in college basketball, landing the likes of Joel AyayiKillian TillieRui Hachimura, and Domantas Sabonis just to name a few. 

2. Damon Stoudamire

After his illustrious playing career at Arizona and a 13-year career in the NBA, Damon Stoudamire started his coaching career at Rice as director of player development during the 2008-09 season. Since then, Stoudamire has been an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers, and Arizona before becoming the Pacific head coach. During Stoudamire’s time at Pacific, he has turned around a program that was 8-20 in the 2015-16 season. Four years later, he won the WCC Coach of the Year with a record of 23-10.

3. Eric Musselman

After a successful four seasons with the Nevada Wolfpack ending with a record of 110-34, Eric Musselman became one of the most sought-after mid-major coaches in college basketball. Arkansas realized his talents and hired Musselman as the school’s next coach. In two seasons with the Razorbacks, is an impressive 45-19. This past season, he made the NCAA Tournament and took his team to the Elite Eight.

4. John Beilein

Yes, John Beilein is out of coaching at this moment, and yes, he was recently fired from the Cleveland Cavaliers without completing an entire season, going 14-40. However, Beilein is one of the most respected coaches in college basketball and has a college coaching record of 754-425 with stints at Richmond, West Virginia, and most recently Michigan. Although Beilein is long in the tooth at 68, he has proven that he can rebuild a program and adapt to the players on his roster. The idea with the hire would make it a five to six years plan to have Beilein rebuild the program and then hand the keys over to Jason Terry, who by then will have six or seven years of coaching experience before becoming the head coach.

5. Mark Pope

It is no secret that Mark Pope has done a great job of revamping the BYU basketball program. In fact, his coaching record with the Cougars is an impressive 44-15 in two seasons. Pope has been a head coach at Utah Valley and BYU, helping rebuild both programs and instill a winning culture with a record of 121-71. The primary question for Pope is, will he be able to handle the pressure of coaching a major program like Arizona in the Pac-12? The WCC is clearly dominated by Gonzaga, with Saint Mary’s are the consistent second-place finishers. The Cougars have taken that second spot away from Saint Mary’s and have finished in that position in both seasons with Pope as head coach.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.

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