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Arizona hires Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd as new coach

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Arizona hired longtime Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd as its new head coach on Wednesday.

The university said Lloyd will receive a five-year contract, pending approval from the Board of Regents. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The 46-year-old Lloyd has spent the past 20 seasons serving under Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. He has developed a reputation as a top-notch international recruiter during his time in the Pacific Northwest.

“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,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a news release. “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.”

Lloyd will be replacing Sean Miller, who was dismissed last week after 12 seasons.

Lloyd helped Gonzaga reach the national championship game of two of the past four NCAA Tournaments. The Bulldogs lost to Baylor in this season’s title matchup.

Lloyd will take over a program facing NCAA sanctions related to the FBI college basketball investigation from 2017.

Last month, Arizona released the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations containing five Level I charges against the school, including a lack of head coach responsibility by Miller and a lack of institutional control by the university.

“I am extremely grateful to President (Robert C.) Robbins and Dave Heeke for the incredible opportunity to lead one of the country’s most storied men’s basketball programs,” Lloyd said. “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.”

Arizona reportedly strongly considered Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner (a former player and assistant coach with the Wildcats) and BYU coach Mark Pope. The school reportedly spoke with Eric Musselman, who signed a long-term extension worth $4 million annually to remain at Arkansas earlier Wednesday.

Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire — a former Arizona star — reportedly interviewed for the post. Another former Wildcats star, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Miles Simon, also reportedly interviewed.

Lloyd’s candidacy was called into question by former Arizona stars Gilbert Arenas and Richard Jefferson earlier this week.

Both players wanted the new coach to come from the Arizona family with Arenas saying of Lloyd, “I don’t even want to say his name because he doesn’t deserve it.”

Former Gonzaga star and current television analyst Dan Dickau gave his seal of approval per Lloyd’s credentials.

“T Lloyd has been instrumental in getting GU to the level they are! I can’t be happier for him! He was instrumental in my career especially during redshirt helping me improve and be ready. Terrific evaluator, recruiter and coach not to mention a great friend! Congrats and good luck!” Dickau said on Twitter.

Lloyd’s contract with Gonzaga had designated him as the coach-in-waiting if Few left or retired.

Miller compiled a 302-109 record in Tucson, leading the Wildcats to seven NCAA Tournament appearances and three trips to the Elite Eight (2011, 2014, 2015).

Arizona went 17-9 this season, including 11-9 in the Pac-12, but was ineligible for the conference and NCAA tourneys due to a self-imposed postseason ban.

–Field Level Media

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