Long before he met with coach Sean Miller to discuss joining the Arizona Wildcats’ coaching staff this spring, Damon Stoudamire’s image was already on a McKale Center hallway, his name was in the rafters and his numbers were prominently in the school record book.
Stoudamire tried to separate all that from what he is now.
“I told Sean, ‘I’m here as a basketball coach — I’m not here as an 18, 19, 20-year-old young man playing for coach (Lute) Olson,’ ” Stoudamire said.
“My responsibilities have changed. I’m here to help this program compete at the level that it’s been and try to make it even better.”
Miller apparently agreed.
“I’m hiring Damon not because he’s one of the all time great players here, though that’s part of what makes him special,” Miller said Friday, after Stoudamire was formally named an assistant coach. “I’m hiring him because he’s absolutely the answer as a coach. His relationship with players, his ability to teach, his ability to connect with today’s student-athlete in the recruiting process or with players here, he’s been there and done it at the highest level.
“To me, who he is as a coach speaks way louder than what he did years ago here at the University of Arizona. That’s what’s most exciting for me — we’re getting a heck of a coach.”
Read more about Stoudamire, Miller and the Cats in Sunday's Arizona Daily Star.