Sean Miller is a former Pitt point guard. He did not leave Arizona for the Panthers job when it opened a few years ago, but obviously a lot has changed in the last few months.
The most significant factor is obviously the ongoing FBI probe. There has been a lot of confusion over Miller's role after ESPN had to issue multiple updates on the timetable involved, after alleging that Miller had discussed a $100,000 payment to star Deandre Ayton.
Miller sat out one game after the report was released, but quickly returned to the sideline, to the glee of Wildcat fans. However, that defiant honeymoon is probably over now.
As a No. 4 seed, Arizona was one of the favorites to make a run to the Final Four in the South Region. Instead, the team got blown out by No. 13 Buffalo 89-68 in the first round.
It doesn't seem likely that Arizona would fire Miller if nothing changes with the investigation. However, at least one college basketball insider could see Miller jumping to take the opening at his alma mater.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman thinks that if Pitt offered, Sean Miller would take over the Panthers.
He spoke to Pittsburgh Sports Now about the Panthers opening. Obviously, URI's Dan Hurley was discussed, as he is reportedly a candidate, but Goodman's take on the Miller hypothetical is very interesting.
I think Sean Miller would go to Pittsburgh if Pittsburgh would take him. That sounds insane that I’m even saying that. But the bottom line is that a lot of things are rolling around Sean Miller right now which makes it tough to take a risk on him right now especially from somebody like Heather Lyke who’s so compliance heavy in her background. I don’t know who ultimately makes the call here. Is it going to be Heather Lyke? Is it going to be someone above her? Will somebody sign off on them going after Sean Miller? I don’t know but if it’s me, I would roll the dice on Sean Miller. I would, I’d roll the dice. I’d say you know what, we’ll take a shot at bringing him home and if in a year something comes out FBI related, then we’ll have to make another move. But in that year, my guess is that Sean Miller makes that program better. Remember to that we don’t know until we hear the audio if Sean Miller did anything wrong yet or illegal. We don’t know. So that’s a part of it too We don’t know. It does make it harder to hire him but to me, you’re innocent until proven guilty.
Goodman may be on to something. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Miller and Pitt have had discussions.
Arizona coach Sean Miller and Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke have discussed the Panthers’ vacant head coaching position, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
The former Pitt and Blackhawk standout, according to sources, is interested in the job.
On the court, it would be hard to Pitt, which may not even be able to beat out UConn and URI for Hurley, to do better than Miller. However, taking him now, with the ongoing scandal looming, could be seen as a slap in the face of the NCAA and law enforcement.
As Goodman says, those are the serious risks that Lyke will have to weigh here. If it happens, though, it is one of the more fascinating hires in big-time college sports that we've seen in some time.