Arizona basketball: UA will take time in hiring assistant

2011-04-05T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T10:13:55Z Arizona basketball: UA will take time in hiring assistantBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 05, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Archie Miller says he probably won't take any Arizona staffers with him to Dayton, which means Wildcats coach Sean Miller has only one job to fill.

But it's a big one.

Sean Miller is expected to be considering a pool of five or six candidates for a new UA assistant coach, including former Wildcat player Damon Stoudamire, but said he would take his time to make sure he finds the right person for his program.

Miller said Sunday he wanted to bring in an equal of Archie Miller, somebody who would complement well-rounded assistants James Whitford and Book Richardson.

Sean Miller will have about $200,000, at least, to offer an assistant. Archie Miller was hired in April 2009 at $210,000 as associate head coach, a position Whitford is expected to assume; Whitford and Richardson were initially paid $190,000.

"I haven't narrowed anything down," Sean Miller said Sunday. "It's about who they are as a person and making sure it's a good fit. This is a very important hire. Anytime you have a decision like this, taking our time is the No. 1 thing."

Stoudamire, now an assistant coach with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, was not available for comment Monday. Stoudamire has never worked with Miller but has West Coast connections and is a former mentor of UA guard Jordin Mayes.

UA cannot officially fill the position for at least a week because it must be publicly posted first, meaning Whitford and Richardson will have an increased workload during the heavy early April recruiting period.

"Book and I will collectively make sure everything that Archie would have been doing will be covered," said Whitford. "There's a lot to do, but it's not quite as intense now that the season's over, and Book and I have been friends for six years so we know how to work together."

Actually, the real increase in workload may come from the additional networking both are now subject to. Richardson said he received 100 voice mails on Sunday from colleagues looking for jobs, enough to freeze up his mailbox on Monday.

"It's uncanny, because I kind of feel I'm a one-man search firm," Richardson said. "Guys call me and say 'What's Arch doing? What's Sean doing?' I don't know. I'm in Houston (for the Final Four) and trying to enjoy it.

"I've always said I'm going to help guys best I can. I spoke to Arch, and he's laughing at me. He said, 'You've got another name for me?'"

Archie Miller has plenty of pipelines to tap into for his new staff at Dayton, which hired him Sunday as head coach, having played and coached at North Carolina State as well as coaching at ASU, Western Kentucky, Ohio State and Arizona. There are several aspiring coaches on the UA support staff, but Archie Miller said he would not likely try to lure them along.

"I don't think so," Archie said. "Sean's staff is really intact, and it's at a level where it's hard to do that."

No doubt, as Richardson's voice mail indicated, Archie Miller won't have trouble finding viable candidates. Although Dayton is in the mid-major Atlantic 10 Conference, it has the fan support and facilities of the high-major level, making its jobs particularly attractive.

"If you take the top non-BCS jobs in the country - San Diego State, New Mexico, BYU … Dayton's in that discussion," Whitford said. "I couldn't be happier for him. He had to take it. He's young, full of energy, and he's way ahead in years of being able to understand the game."

Richardson said he thought Archie Miller was "one of the best coaches in the country," having worked with not only Sean Miller but also Thad Matta and several other respected coaches - including his father, John, a legendary high school coach in Pennsylvania.

"There's never going to be a situation that he hasn't experienced, as an assistant or player," Richardson said of Miller. "He's won every place he's been, and he has such a tremendous feel for the game. I really commend Dayton for what they've done."

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