Miller to remain as Arizona’s head basketball coach - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Miller to remain as Arizona’s head basketball coach

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Sean Miller will stay on as the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona.

The school retained the embattled coach at a Thursday meeting, despite an ESPN report that said the FBI reportedly intercepted telephone conversations in which he discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton would sign with the Wildcats.

Robert C Robbins, UA's president, said Miller will be the Wildcats' coach for tonight and the rest of the season. 

"The board and I have decided Sean Miller will remain as basketball coach."

Bill Ridenour, chairman of the Board Regents, said: "I fully support his decision and I am confident he has been thorough in his assessment of this situation."

The tapes allegedly have Miller talking with Christian Dawkins, a figure in the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption.

Sources say Dawkins asked Miller if he should work with assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson to finalize this agreement. But Miller is said to have told Dawkins he should deal directly with him when it came to money.

Richardson was fired by Arizona after he was arrested by the FBI in September. He is accused of taking $20,000 in bribes to steer players to Dawkins and another financial adviser.

If convicted, Richardson could face up to 60 years in prison.

Miller denied the accusations at a news conference at McKale Center on Thursday afternoon, mere hours before the Board of Regents discussed his fate.

"Let me be very, very clear. I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying DeAndre Ayton to attend the UofA," Miller said.

"I want to make it very clear I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules. I look forward to coaching, I now turn my focus to basketball."

The No. 14 Cats face Stanford on Thursday at McKale Center.

UA released the following statement:

We have decided that Sean Miller will remain the University of Arizona's men's basketball coach. 

Media reports last Friday alleged that Coach Miller was caught on a wiretap discussing a payment with a representative of a sports agency regarding one of our student-athletes. Since those reports broke, we have sought to learn everything that we can from Coach Miller about the allegations. As Coach Miller's employer, we acted to investigate these reports. 

Earlier this week, we met with Coach Miller at length and asked him direct and pointed questions. He was eager to speak with us and answered every question we asked. At this time we have no reason to believe that Coach Miller violated NCAA rules or any laws regarding the allegation reported in the media. Additionally, he has a record of compliance with NCAA rules, and he has been cooperative with this process.

While some might be tempted to rush to judgment when there is intense public pressure, due process is the bedrock of fair treatment and acting with integrity. With that in mind, we will continue to pursue every avenue of inquiry available to us during an active federal investigation to fully understand the facts. We recognize that investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to be respectful and cooperative through its conclusion. Steptoe & Johnson continues its investigation into our athletics compliance, and we will carefully review and act on its conclusions. We anticipate this report will be thorough and based on facts.

We want to thank our student-athletes for the strength they have exhibited during this challenging situation. We are confident that they will continue to respond with commitment, integrity and excellence. Deandre Ayton, who has been subjected to false, public reports that impugned his reputation, has our full support. We ask that the Wildcat Family rally behind these young men and our coaching staff tonight and throughout the rest of our season. 

Thank you.

Robert C. Robbins

Dave Heeke
Director of Athletics

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