Sean Miller meets Arizona fans

Beer puns were very necessary in 2009. Tucson Citizen photo

Happy anniversary, Coach! Happy anniversary to UA fans as well.

Six years ago today Sean Miller agreed to head up the Arizona Wildcats‘ basketball program. We take a look back at how close it came to not happening.

The 2009 UA hoops coaching search was the biggest circus to hit Tucson in years. Everybody heard rumors; everybody had an inside source. There were whispers that Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood had been rejected by Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Jamie Dixon and Mark Few. The rumor mill had every name coach short of John Wooden as a candidate at some point.

There was a printed report that the UA was targeting Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel, which is interesting considering Arizona State’s current coaching search.

Here’s a play-by-play of coverage from six years ago:

Tue. Mar. 31, 2009

Calipari announces he’s taking the Kentucky job, ending any chances Arizona had of landing the Memphis coach.

USC athletic director Mike Garrett confirms the UA asked for permission to speak with Trojan coach Tim Floyd.

Wed. Apr. 1, 2009

Livengood meets with Floyd in Tucson and offers him the Arizona job.

A car carrying Livengood and Floyd is tracked driving to the Tucson airport (complete with grainy paparazzi-style photo).

Rumors fly that Floyd has accepted the offer.

Thu. Apr. 2, 2009

Floyd holds a press conference to announce he talked with Arizona (and Memphis) but is staying at USC. (Happy Tim Floyd Day!)

Sun. Apr. 5

Xavier coach Sean Miller meets with Livengood in Albuquerque and flies back to Cincinnati to sleep on the UA offer.

Late that night Miller tells reporters he’s staying at Xavier.

People like me use sarcasm to dull the pain.

Mon. Apr. 6, 2009

Miller has a change of heart, accepts Livengood’s proposal and announces he is leaving Xavier for Arizona.

People like me rejoice.

Tue. Apr. 7, 2009

Miller is introduced as the next men’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona and a smiling Lute Olson wears a white jacket.

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If that wasn’t a happy enough ending for Wildcat fans, reports surfaced in May that Floyd had paid cash to get O.J. Mayo to USC. On June 9 Floyd resigned from USC. That fall Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill and MoMo Jones were on campus in Tucson instead of Los Angeles and the Sean Miller era was off and running.

In an odd twist Miller and Floyd became good friends. Wildcat Universe should be forever grateful to Floyd for saying no.

There may be frustration with certain close losses in recent years but six years ago today Arizona won big.

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