November 17, 1968 |
Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
Miami (OH) (asst.)
NC State (asst.)
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
A-10 Tournament Championship (2006)
A-10 Regular Season Championship (2007, 2008, 2009)
A-10 Coach of the Year (2008)
Pac-10/12 John R. Wooden Coach of the Year (2011, 2014)
Pac-10/12 Regular Season Championship (2011, 2014)
Miller was born in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. The son of John Miller, a Pennsylvania high school basketball coach, Miller was a point guard under his father at Blackhawk High School in Chippewa Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He had developed considerable ballhandling skills before that time and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when he was fourteen years old. His ball handling skills were such that he was featured in the 1979 movie, "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh," starring basketball star Julius Erving. In his junior year, he led Blackhawk to the 1986 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) title. In his senior year, he averaged 27 points and 11 assists per game and helped lead his Blackhawk Cougars to the 1987 WPIAL championship game. After graduation, he chose to play basketball for Pittsburgh.
Miller played at Pitt from 1987-1992. Despite being a natural freshman, he was the starting point guard. Some of his more famous teammates at the time include Charles Smith and Jerome Lane. Many of his teammates recall his knowledge of the game and his leadership qualities. His knowledge of the game allowed him to compete at this level, although he did not have the speed or athleticism of his peers. Jason Matthews, the shooting guard next to Miller, recalls he was the leader of the team, even as a freshman, and that the upperclassmen welcomed him as a leader. Because of his knowledge and leadership abilities, none of his teammates were surprised once he became a top coach in NCAA men's basketball. Miller's collegiate statistics are: 128 games played, 1,282 points, 10.0 points per game, 744 assists, 5.8 assists per game, 261 rebounds, 2.0 rebounds per game, and 102 steals. 
Sean was on the all-Rookie team for the Big East. As of the 2009-2010 season, he was the No. 17 all-time scorer for Pitt, all-time best three-point shooter for Pitt, and had the third most Big East career assists. Furthermore, he ranked 10th among career Division I free throw shooters at .885.
After graduating from Pitt with a degree in communications in 1992, Miller took a graduate assistant position at Wisconsin. He then spent two seasons (1993-95) at Miami (Ohio) under Herb Sendek, during which the team made two postseason appearances. He then returned to his alma mater of Pittsburgh for a season as an assistant under Ralph Willard.
Miller's next move was a return to southwestern Ohio in 2001. This time he would join Thad Matta's staff at Xavier as the first associate head coach in the school's history. The Musketeers won 26 games in each of Miller's three seasons under Matta, making the NCAA tournament each season. The 2004 season was especially notable. First, the Musketeers won the Atlantic 10 postseason tournament despite having to play four games to do so. Xavier then made a deep run in the subsequent NCAA tournament, finishing with the school's first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight.
Taking over as head coach at Xavier after Matta moved on to Ohio State, Miller took the Musketeers to four NCAA tournaments, in addition to winning three A-10 regular season championships and one conference tournament championship. In the 2008 NCAA tournament, the 3rd seeded Musketeers were eliminated in the Elite Eight by #1 seed UCLA, while in 2009, they were eliminated in the Sweet 16 by another #1 seed, Pittsburgh.
After the tournament, Miller was announced to be a possible candidate for the vacant head coaching position at Arizona, which had spent two years under interim head coaches in the wake of the illness and retirement of Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson. He initially turned the job down before changing his mind and accepting the job on Apr. 6, 2009 despite having never visited the Arizona campus. He was succeeded at Xavier by former assistant Chris Mack. Within three months of joining the program, Miller had already assembled a recruiting class ranked #12 in the nation by Scout.com. Miller led Arizona to a 16-15 record (10-8 in the Pacific-10 Conference) in his debut season, and the Wildcats missed postseason play for the first time in 25 years.
In the 2010-2011 season, Miller guided Arizona back to college basketball relevance. He led Arizona to its first top 10 ranking in the AP poll since January 8, 2007, and led the Wildcats to their tenth outright Pac-10 Regular Season Title (its 12th overall), 30-win season (4th overall), Elite Eight appearance (9th overall) and its highest coaches poll finish (9th) since the 2004-2005 season. Miller compiled a recruiting class that includes 4 ESPNU top 100 recruits (#4 by Scout.com), which was widely regarded as a top ten recruiting class. In addition, Miller led the Wildcats to their first unbeaten home record (17-0) in 14 years and was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year. This was the first time an Arizona coach received this honor since Lute Olson did in 2003. The 17 wins without a loss at home was tied for the second most in school history  and is part of a 19-game home streak beginning in the 2009-2010 season.
Miller's recruiting has improved. From not being ranked in the top-25 recruiting classes by ESPN in 2010, Arizona's 2011 recruiting class was ranked 7th, notably signing Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner. For 2012, Arizona secured three players in the top nine of the ESPNU 100, with all four newly signed players within the top 36. This has cemented Arizona as the No. 1 signing class nationally, surpassing Kentucky who held the No. 1 spot 2010 and 2011.
In his fifth season Miller guided to its second top-5 ranking in the AP poll(the first coming in weeks 7-10 of the 2012-2013 season), Miller's first ever top ranking in the AP poll in 2013 and led the Wildcats to their eleventh outright Pac-12 Regular Season Title (its 13th overall, 26th regular season overall).
Head coaching record
|Xavier Musketeers (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2004–2009)|
|2005–06||Xavier||21–11||8–8||T–7th||NCAA First Round|
|2006–07||Xavier||25–9||13–3||T–1st||NCAA Second Round|
|2007–08||Xavier||30–7||14–2||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2008–09||Xavier||27–8||12–4||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|Xavier:||120–47 (.719)||55–22 (.714)|
|Arizona Wildcats (Pacific-10/Pacific-12 Conference) (2009–present)|
|2010–11||Arizona||30–8||14–4||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2011–12||Arizona||23–12||12–6||4th||NIT First Round|
|2012–13||Arizona||27–8||12–6||T–2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2013–14||Arizona||33–5||15–3||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|Arizona:||149–50 (.749)||71–28 (.717)|
Notable Players Coached
- Derrick Williams (2009-2011)
- Solomon Hill (2009-2013)
- Grant Jerrett (2012-2013)
- Aaron Gordon (2013-2014)
- Nick Johnson (2011-2014)
Notes and references
- "Coach Bio: Sean Miller - Men's Basketball". Xavier University Athletics. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
- Greg Bishop, "Following the Bouncing Ball," New York Times, March 28, 2013
- Katz, Andy (2009-04-06). "Xavier's Miller accepts Arizona job". "ESPN.com".
- Pascoe, Bruce (2009-07-04). "Freshmen mean array of options". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- Finley, Patrick (2011-03-06). "'Home-court dominance' reigns". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2011-03-07.