Let me put some caveats on this before I begin. The views here are my own, not Bruins Nation's. Sean Miller is a damn good defensive basketball coach; best in the PAC 12 since Ben Howland.
That said he is a bad person who should not be coaching kids. First off, there was this incident:
This is what we all got to witness on Thursday evening in McKale Center, when Sean Miller not only pulled Kaleb Tarczewski for making a mistake, but after the 22-year-old center told coach to relax, was responded to by the 47-year-old Miller by getting called a "motherfucker". Miller was not done there, going back at his four-year player and getting right up in his face again.
Now Kaleb Tarczewski is well known to have a confidence problem but on the other side this has been said of him:
"I don't know if I've coached too many players, if ever a player, that has been more unselfish, more giving, more hard-working than Kaleb Tarczewski," Miller said of his post. "He has an opportunity to graduate from the Eller School of Business, which from an undergraduate perspective is one of our most prominent programs at the University of Arizona. He also has an opportunity on the court to leave as the all-time winningest player in our program's history, which considering the history is an incredible statement."
Yep, Sean Miller said Kaleb was most unselfish, most giving and hard working and picked him to represent U of A at PAC 12 media day. Yet during a game in front of everyone he calls the same kid a MF.
Okay, you say, hey it was the heat of a game. Did he apologize afterwards? Nope. He doubled down:
But did Miller have any regrets about his outburst?
"No," he said Saturday after the team's win against Oregon State. "I don’t care what it’s perceived like. . . . unfortunately in today’s world... it’s trying to catch you, trying to catch coaches. 'What can I do to get this guy fired? Is there anything I can do to catch him behind the scenes'?"
In Miller's mind, he's just doing his job.
"I’m myself. I’m the coach and I’m going to push our team to the best that we can be," he said.
This is not just one incident. I have been watching the PAC 10 and 12 basketball for a long time and I have never seen a guy as hated by another group of people as Sean Miller is. That group is the people who get to see what Miller is really like game after game, the referees. A few years back the referees hated Miller so much that the head of the referees called a jihad on Miller:
[Pac 12 Head of Referees Ed] Rush, according to a source within the Pac-12 officiating group, told a group of referees on the Thursday of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas that he would give them $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they either "rang him up" or "ran him," meaning hit Miller with a technical or toss him out of the game. Rush then reiterated during a Friday morning meeting, according to one referee in attendance, that officials should take similar action against Miller if he did anything on Friday in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA.
Now, let me quickly say that I do not condone Rush’s statement or the referees actions. To be clear what Rush said was a 100% wrong. However, my point is the referees get to see the antics of Miller like no one else and for the first and only time I know of in the history of the Pac 8/10/12 the referees targeted a coach.
There must be something about Miller that is so despicable. Something like what was on display with Kaleb maybe.
The last problem I have with Miller is he is full of it. Recruiting is about exaggerating and selling yourself and your program. I get it. That is fine. Miller could claim in recruiting that he is "the best defensive coach" in the country, best in west or brag about great fans. I would disagree with such boasts but they are certainly colorable claims. But that is not what Miller does. Miller regularly tells recruits they should come to Arizona to "run." The problem is Miller is a defense first coach with an offense that is sometimes an afterthought and almost never runs. Yet, you would think Miller is Paul Westhead from the eighties from the way he talks. It is deceptive. Now this is the not the worst of his sins but it is part of the pattern.
Sean Miller is a good defensive coach, but not a coach I would want a kid I like or respect to play for. I am sure Sean would call me a MF for saying this but at least I am not a teenager in his charge sweating and busting my behind for free for him.
So yeah I will be rooting a little extra hard against Arizona Friday. Go Bruins!