Lack of 'chemistry' doomed Maryland's deal with Sean Miller

Maryland's brief flirtation with Arizona men's basketball coach Sean Miller didn't end because it was outbid, according to multiple sources who said Wednesday that there was more to it than money.

Miller and Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson met Saturday at a Las Vegas hotel to explore the possibility that Miller — who led the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament's West Regional final — might be hired to replace the retiring Gary Williams.

Late Saturday night, Arizona said Miller was signing a contract extension to remain with the school. The announcement set off rampant speculation in the media and on fan sites about what may have occurred between Maryland and the coach in the Las Vegas hotel room.

Anderson said in an interview Wednesday that were "chemistry issues." A source close to Miller agreed, characterizing the two as "oil and water."

"Great coach. I wish him the best," said Anderson, who said he did not want to deconstruct the chain of events.

Maryland formally introduced Texas A&M's Mark Turgeon as its coach Wednesday. Anderson said he had contacted Turgeon early in the process — last Friday — and had moved on because he didn't know Turgeon was interested. Then, Anderson said, "Mark called [on Sunday]. No lawyer, no nothing. Just Mark."

Miller declined to discuss the Maryland talks on Wednesday, said Richard Paige, an Arizona athletics spokesman who relayed an interview request to the coach.

But sources familiar with the talks provided the following details:

Before the Las Vegas meeting, Maryland and Miller's representatives had discussed, in the words of one source, "what it would take to get him [to College Park]."

In multiple phone calls, the parties laid a groundwork in advance, discussing salary, Maryland basketball's budget resources and other items. But Anderson and Miller did not meet until they got to Las Vegas, where Miller was attending a Nike basketball clinic.

Among the issues discussed were Maryland's academic admissions criteria for athletes. But it was quickly apparent at the meeting that there was not enough comfort level to proceed.

"I want to coach our program, and deal with our team, and the future here is very bright," Miller said at a news conference after returning to Arizona, according to the school's website.

Maryland also reached out to Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, a longtime friend of Anderson's. Maryland knew Mike Brey was working on a contract extension with Notre Dame and that Villanova's Jay Wright was unavailable.

"My intelligence said Jay was wed to Villanova and Philly from the beginning. That was made very clear to me," Anderson said.

Anderson said Turgeon is a "a great man, a great leader and he wants everything that we stand for."

Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus contributed to this article.