Sean Miller is back to Xavier today. The last game he coached for the Musketeers was March 26th, 2009. The next he will coach is undecided both by the team and, potentially, the NCAA. What a long, strange trip it has been, especially here near the end.
September 27th, 2017- Book Richardson, an Arizona assistant, is arrested as part of an FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.
February 23rd, 2018- Yahoo Sports releases a trove of documents detailing which schools have been implicated in the FBI/NCAA investigation. Among them are Arizona and Xavier.
March 1st, 2018- Miller categorically denies being involved in paying players. Xavier is never implicated in the payments made to Edmond Sumner’s father.
March 31st, 2018- Xavier announces Travis Steele will take over as head coach for Chris Mack, who has left to take the job at Louisville after much rumor and innuendo surrounding his family and that program for months. Steele sounds every bit the spiritual successor to the line of Xavier coaches in his introductory press conference.
March 15th, 2019- Brian O’Connell blows a charge call against Naji Marshall and Xavier misses the big win that would have gotten them into the NCAA tournament. Until 2022, this is the closest the team will come under Steele. Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcats are playing under a cloud and don’t even come that close.
March 10th, 2021- Xavier blows an enormous second half lead and loses to Butler in the first round of the BET. The Musketeers likely needed a couple wins to make the NCAAs, instead they get none. Arizona is much better under Miller, but they are serving a one year self-imposed ban.
April 7th, 2021- Sean Miller is fired at Arizona. More than three years after the initial allegations, Arizona is hit with nine NCAA violations. While only one is assessed to Sean Miller, it’s hard not to see the connection between his actions and the rest of the mess. Miller’s firing comes as no real surprise. He spends the summer and fall rehabilitating his image and hanging out with his brother.
March 9th, 2022- Xavier’s collapse is complete. On the 19th of January the Musketeers were 18th in the KenPom and a lead pipe lock for the tournament. They go 4-10 the rest of the way before, again, blowing a second half lead and losing to Butler in the Big East tournament.
March 13th, 2022- Xavier isn’t called on Selection Sunday, but does accept a bid to the NIT. Travis Steele meets with AD Greg Christopher and they elect to stay the course. Steele is expected to be the coach of the Musketeers when the next season tips off.
March 16th, 2022- Travis Steele is out at Xavier. The timing, fresh off an NIT win over Cleveland State, is shocking. Xavier is still playing games and the press conference the night before had been business as usual. Concerned, though, about the atmosphere in the Cintas, Christopher met with Steele again. The end result was that the two men agreed to a mutual termination of Steele’s contract. Rumors fly.
March 19th, 2022- After a frantic 72 hours of rumor, steakhouses, watched flights, and retracted confirmations, Sean Miller is announced as Xavier’s new head coach. The NCAA is yet to decide what, if any, punishment he will face for his time at Arizona.
And that brings us to today. Sean Miller will go in front of the Cintas faithful at 130 in a coaching unveiling more along the lines of LeBron entering Miami than the usual presser. A new era is upon Xavier basketball.