UA assistant hoops coach, Archie Miller, hired by Dayton

It looks like they’re breaking up another brother act at the University of Arizona.

This time, Arizona’s head basketball coach, Sean Miller, is saying goodbye to his little brother – just as Mike Stoops did after the 2009 football season.

In a press conference in Ohio this afternoon, Ryan “Archie” Miller, the Wildcats’ associate head basketball coach, was introduced as the new head coach at the University of Dayton.

For UofA sports fans, the situation is all too familiar.

Mark Stoops, younger brother of Uof A head football coach Mike Stoops, left the Wildcat program after being hired away by the new head coach at Florida State, Jimbo Fisher.  Fisher replaced the long-time Seminoles’ legendary head coach, Bobby Bowden, last year and lured  Stoops away from Tucson to be his defensive coordinator in Tallahassee.

The younger Stoops, who spent three years helping his brother rebuild the Arizona football program, was reportedly to receive just under a half-million in a nice salary boost.

But money is not likely the motivating factor for Miller.  What he gets is a program that is blossoming, in a great community for college basketball, at the perfect time in his coaching career.

At the ripe old age of 32, he becomes one of the youngest head coaches in college basketball.  And inherits a program that has enjoyed four consecutive 20-win seasons under Brian Gregory and four straight post-season appearances, three trips to the NIT Tournament and a ticket to the Big Dance two years ago.

Gregory was snatched by Georgia Tech just a week ago and Miller, considered one of the bright, new defensive gurus in the college game, went to the top of the wish list for Dayton Athletic Director Tim Wabler.  When Duke’s assistant, Steve Wojciechowski, pulled his name from the hat, Miller stepped through the door.

The former stand-out point guard at North Carolina State, has spent eight years in the coaching ranks, including a stint at national power, Ohio State, before joining his brother’s staff at Arizona.  He was also an assistant to Arizona State head coach, Herb Sendek, both at ASU and North Carolina State before that.

It’s a good hire for the Flyers since Miller knows the recruiting trail in the Midwest, a benefit of his time at Ohio State, and will also bring a nationally-recognized name to the program that has steadily been building a national reputation under Gregory.

And that recruiting acumen had to be a big part of his attraction to Dayton.  At Arizona, he was also the recruiting coordinator, a key factor to his brother’s ability to turn the program around in just two years.   Next season’s recruiting class is considered to be among the top 10 in the country.

Since he has coached in the ACC, the Big-10, and the Pac-10, his recruiting grounds stretch through the East, to the Midwest, out to the West Coast.

So, where does this turn of events leave Arizona’s program going forward?

There may be some fall-out from recruits that have committed with the idea he would be there when they arrived on campus.  But if his brother can hold the fort through this off-season upheaval, there shouldn’t be a major effect on the 2011 season.

However, this will present a bump in the road for the rebuilding program.  Sean Miller needs continuity in his staff to be able to keep the momentum going for a program he took to the Elite Eight this year.

And little brother will be missed when the Cats begin trying to stock the talent cupboard without him.

(Photo: University of Dayton)