The Sean Miller Era is officially over at Arizona, and the Tommy Lloyd Era has begun.
The Pac-12 school on Wednesday named Lloyd, 46, as the school’s new head coach, replacing Miller, who was fired April 7.
The school said Lloyd has agreed to a 5-year deal. Lloyd has been the top assistant to Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who guided the Bulldogs to the NCAA championship game in 2017 and this season, when they went 31-0 before losing to Baylor in the title game.
“I am extremely grateful to President Robbins and [athletic director] Dave Heeke for the incredible opportunity to lead one of the country’s most storied men’s basketball programs,” said Lloyd in a statement.
“While there are certainly potential obstacles ahead for our program, I embrace the challenge as we will build on the foundation in place to compete for PAC-12 and national championships. I know how much Arizona Basketball means to the institution, its fans, its community and the state, and I cannot wait to get started. That works begin now. My family and I are excited to settle in Tucson and begin a new chapter.”
Lloyd has been an assistant coach at Gonzaga for the past 20 seasons, helping to recruit and develop 19 All-Americans and 15 West Coast Conference players of the year and contributing to five straight 30-win seasons.
The school was known for recruiting a mix of international players and top American prospects, like projected top-3 NBA Draft pick Jalen Suggs and projected lottery pick Corey Kispert. Gonzaga is the favorite to land 7-foot-1 Minnesota native Chet Holmgren, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Arizona this season had multiple foreign players on the roster, and in past years had numerous NBA Draft picks. It will be interesting to see how Lloyd’s recruiting philosophy translates to Arizona.
One player, K.J. Simpson, decommitted after Miller’s firing, while several other players opted to transfer. Freshman guard Kerr Kriisa of Estonia will put his name in the NCAA transfer portal Thursday, Kriisa told ESPN.
“I’m hoping to hear what my options are, but I’m still open to returning to Arizona depending on how things shake out,”” Kriisa said.
Lloyd takes over after a scandal-plagued tenure under Miller. Miller was never directly linked to improper behavior, although the NCAA served Arizona with a Notice of Allegations last October that included five Level 1 violations, one of which singled out Miller for failing to monitor two assistant coaches accused of academic misconduct and improper recruiting inducements. The school self-imposed a postseason ban this season.
“We are thrilled that Tommy and his family are joining the Wildcat Family and reestablishing our men’s basketball program among the elite in the nation,” said Heeke.
“After speaking with a tremendous pool of candidates, and with so many in and out of the college basketball world, it became clear that Tommy has the passion, the experience, the knowledge, the coaching and recruiting acumen and the drive to lead us to championships. He has been a big part of the incredible rise and success of Gonzaga Basketball and is well-respected for his partnership with that program’s head coach, Mark Few. We are looking forward to what’s next, and we welcome Tommy, Chanelle and their children, Liam, Sophia Marie and Maria Alexis to Tucson.”
During his tenure, Lloyd and the Zags have won 19 West Coast Conference regular season titles and 15 WCC Tournament championships with the help of 87 all-WCC honorees, including nine newcomers of the year and six defenders of the year.
“I want to thank Dave Heek for his leadership in this process and the many basketball experts, coaches and former players who provided us with invaluable advice,” said President Robert C. Robbins.
“Ultimately, Tommy rose to the top, and I am confident in the future of our men’s basketball program with him at the helm. With our women’s basketball program’s incredible run to the NCAA championship game just a week ago, and now with Tommy Lloyd taking the reins of our men’s program, I can proudly say Arizona Basketball is in good hands.”