While questioning both the turnover call and technical foul that led to Sean Miller’s postgame protests last month, former Pac-12 officials coordinator Ed Rush said Friday he had an “enormous amount” of respect for the Arizona Wildcats’ coach.
In an interview with the Star on Friday, a day after he resigned from the Pac-12, Rush said he tried to prod officials into more closely watching Miller and other coaches with “poorly chosen wording” during the Pac-12 Tournament.
But he said he did not seriously offer a bounty on Miller and tried unsuccessfully to speak with the Wildcats’ coach after Miller was fined $25,000 for postgame actions following UA’s March 15 loss to UCLA.
“I actually reached out to Sean a couple of times and didn’t hear back from him,” Rush said. “I was hoping we could have a conversation. I told him I felt bad about putting him in the middle of all of this. … I called him and his voice mail was full. So I sent a text and said, ‘If you have a chance, give me a call.’ ”
Miller, who has declined comment about Rush and Pac-12 officiating since he was fined on March 17, shares Pennsylvania roots with Rush that Rush said led to his respect of Miller.
A 38-year veteran of the NBA who is also now the special teams football coach at Division II Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, Rush was a consultant to the Pac-12 when Miller was hired in April 2009 and took over as officials coordinator last summer.
“I know how he grew up, how he learned the game, and we have some mutual friends,” Rush said of Miller. “When he came to the University of Arizona, I knew what a great hire it was for the conference. When I got to know him this summer, I could see why he’s doing a phenomenal job.
“But at the same time, anytime you’re in this job, in a highly competitive situation, it’s your job to manage the coaches.”
Rush said the actions of Miller and Colorado coach Tad Boyle during a Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal game on March 14 prompted him to prod the refs to more closely watch Miller and UCLA’s Ben Howland the next day.
Read more about Ed Rush and Sean Miller in Saturday's Arizona Daily Star.