By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer
Xavier president Michael Graham took a small jab Thursday at Ohio State and the hiring process that lured away Thad Matta as Graham introduced Sean Miller as Xavier's new head coach.
"The fact that we were able to conclude in less than a day what took Ohio State more than a month is a tribute to our terrific people here at Xavier," Graham said.
Xavier announced Miller's hiring 19 1/2 hours after Matta called Xavier athletic director Dawn Rogers Wednesday night to tell her he would be leaving XU for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes position had been open since athletic director Andy Geiger fired Jim O'Brien June 8, and Matta is not going to be formally introduced until today.
"It was a no-brainer," Graham said. "We had been having talks, kind of like 'what if' stuff. The question was, 'What's next?' For Dawn, the first thing to do was to have a serious conversation with Sean."
Miller met with Rogers off campus Wednesday night after he and Rogers had heard from Matta that he was going to Ohio State.
Rogers called Graham late that night after her conversation with Miller. The two administrators spoke again Thursday, and Graham offered Miller the job late Thursday morning. The contract is a five-year deal with undisclosed terms.
Though Xavier officials bemoaned the loss of Matta on Wednesday, they expressed relief that Miller, 35, was still available for Xavier to promote.
As one of the sport's fast-rising assistants, Miller was expected to land a head-coaching job somewhere else, if not at Xavier, in the near future.
"I'm so glad that didn't happen this year," Graham said.
"Every year, I would go down and say, 'Sean, we don't want you to go anyplace,' " Rogers said. "It worked out in a great way for him, and I am very grateful that he did not leave in the last three years."
Miller met with Xavier players at 1 p.m. Thursday and informed them he would meet with each of their families to reassure them that the Xavier program will remain at a high level.
Miller's hiring occurred on the first day of the July recruiting period, which means Miller must assemble his staff and be on the recruiting trail at the same time. Matta took with him to Ohio State assistants John Groce and Alan Major. Xavier assistants Bill Comar, Brandon Miller and Mario Mercurio could remain at XU. Miller said he would like to keep at least one of those three, and he is expected to hire his brother, 27-year-old Archie Miller, who is a Western Kentucky assistant.
"He's someone that I look very favorably on adding to my staff," Miller said. "It's a fine line, because he's my brother and he's young. But I also believe he's very talented and would do an incredible job here dealing with players and recruiting."
Miller said he was going to Indianapolis to begin evaluating players at summer camps either Thursday night or today.
Miami coach Charlie Coles, a RedHawks assistant with Miller under Herb Sendek in 1996, said Xavier isn't likely to see a drop-off from Matta to Miller.
"In fact, their recruiting might get better," Coles said. "He's going to be phenomenal there. How many guys in the country have the experience he does at his age? Not many. He's a young guy, but he's like an old guy."
Some of Sean Miller's career statistics from his playing days at Pittsburgh:
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