Miller watch on after meeting with Anderson

Maryland fans waited Saturday night to see if the initial interest between the school and Arizona's Sean Miller would lead to the Wildcats' basketball coach being hired to succeed Gary Williams.

Maryland believed its search to replace the retiring Williams could be informally concluded by the end of the weekend, a source said. But no deal had yet been confirmed with Miller, whose athletic director was doing "everything in our power" to keep the coach in Tucson.

Just as it did in the final days of the football search, Maryland had more than one candidate on its list. A source said several names were in play, including one unidentified candidate the school contacted at least a few days ago to gauge his interest. The source indicated that the unidentified candidate was not Notre Dame's Mike Brey, the subject of early media speculation regarding the search.

In the football search, Maryland had three finalists on the day before Randy Edsall was hired Jan. 2.

A source close to Miller said Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson was to meet with Miller Saturday night. The meeting was believed to have taken place in Las Vegas, where Miller spoke at a coaching clinic.

The Arizona AD, Greg Byrne, tweeted Saturday afternoon: "Wildcat Faithful, please know that we have been & continue to work to keep Sean Miller as our coach … During our ongoing conversations Sean is very aware & has been very aware, that we want him to be our coach … We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that happens."

A source said Maryland had been quickly impressed with Miller's credentials — "If you didn't have him on the list you'd be foolish" — and set out to pursue him.

Miller is a former Xavier coach and North Carolina State assistant who led the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament's west regional final. He is known for his recruiting. He has been in the Arizona job for two seasons.

Maryland has not been using a search firm, as it did in January's football coach search.

Sources said the school is expected to quickly form a committee that would interview Miller or another top candidate before they were formally hired.

That means there would be a multi-step process: a candidate would be courted and would need to express serious enough interest to travel to College Park to be interviewed by the committee. Unlike some schools, Maryland doesn't require coaches' contracts to be reviewed by the Board of Regents.

In the football search, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was invited to College Park but declined to come, sources said, absent a guarantee that he would be hired. Connecticut's Edsall traveled to College Park and was hired.

Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad