Arizona coach Sean Miller breaks his silence, issues statement amid FBI probe
Miller writes he was 'devastated' at the FBI's findings and takes some ownership
Arizona coach Sean Miller waited a week to make his first public statement in the wake of an FBI investigation that includes the arrest of Arizona assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson. On Tuesday evening, Miller ended his silence in the form of a written statement that was sent out from the head of the athletic department's communications office.
It reads: "I was devastated to learn last week of the allegations made against Emanuel Richardson. I have expressed to both Dr. Robbins and our Athletic Director Dave Heeke that I fully support the University's efforts to fully investigate these allegations. As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past 8 years and will continue to do so as we move forward."
In the past week, the FBI's investigation forced Miller to cancel a scheduled media day, called off a public speaking appearance at the Tucson Rotary Club, and a local credit union halted advertisements featuring Miller. Miller and the members of the basketball team have no planned meeting with the media in the coming days, head of Arizona's athletic communication services department Jeremy Sharpe told CBS Sports. The Pac-12's media day is Oct. 12.
Arizona's president and its athletic director also released statements on Tuesday night. Initially sent to "supporters of Arizona Athletics," both statements offer support to Miller amid the scandal.
AD Dave Heeke statement:
Dear Wildcat Family:
As many of you are aware, a member of our men's basketball coaching staff was arrested last week. I was angered and disheartened to learn of the news and its potential impact on the university, our athletics department, and this community.
As a proud and passionate supporter of Arizona Athletics, you deserve to know that we are winning with integrity at all times, and the steps announced today by President Robbins will make sure we are. As the leader of the Department of Athletics, I expect all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff to act with integrity and character, and I promise that I, along with our staff, will work tirelessly to ensure this department operates with the highest of ethical standards.
I have admired President Robbins' leadership at the university, and this past week, he has exhibited his experience, demeanor and thoughtfulness. We will continue to work closely together as we navigate this issue.
With basketball practice underway, I ask that you join me in supporting Sean Miller, the staff, and our student-athletes as they work towards the start of the season.
Earlier today, Sean released a statement and President Robbins shared a message with the community regarding the university's actions to this point. I want to make sure that you have seen both Coach Miller's and President Robbins' communications, which are below.
As President Robbins noted in his message, we will be a stronger university and department because of the actions announced today.
Director of Athletics
Arizona president Robert Robbins, who started in June, released a lengthy statement. It includes this graf: "Head coach Sean Miller has not been charged with—nor accused of—any misconduct and he has been fully cooperative and supportive of our efforts to determine the facts in pursuit of the truth. ... Based on the facts that we know at this time, we support Coach Miller and intend to provide him with all of the tools necessary to meet our goals and expectations."
Richardson is yet to be officially fired, but that is an inevitability. He is charged with accepting bribe money in conspiracy to steer college basketball prospects to financial advisors -- who have also been charged in the scheme. Miller was not named in the probe, but another unnamed Arizona assistant is mentioned in the FBI's complaint. That unnamed assistant has not been charged.
Given the nature of the case, the eligibility of players on Arizona's roster is to be determined. At full strength, the Wildcats are almost universally regarded as a preseason top-three team among college basketball's media.
With Miller having addressed the issue, Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton is now the only coach with a program who had a coach charged who is yet to speak publicly on the matter.
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