In his first public comments since being hired, new Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Justin Gainey said he is “honored and excited to join the Wildcat family where the tradition of basketball is as strong as I’ve ever seen.”
Here is the rest of his statement (via Twitter):
“I am beyond grateful to Coach Miller for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. I know from firsthand experience that his development of players and passion and love for the game is unmatched. My family and I are proud to call Tucson home, and I can’t wait to coach at this unbelievable university in front of a sold out McKale Center.”
Gainey comes to Arizona after one year as an assistant coach at Santa Clara.
Prior to that he was the director of basketball operations at Marquette for three years, an assistant coach at Appalachian State for four years, an administrator at N.C. State for three years, and an assistant coach at Elon for one year.
Gainey, 41, played at N.C. State from 1996-2000. He was a three-year starter. Arizona head coach Sean Miller was an assistant coach there under Herb Sendek at the time.
Miller called Gainey a “self-made player”
“A lot of those qualities that he had as a player, I think you’ll find those same qualities as a coach,” Miller said last Thursday at a press conference.
“He’s very selfless, hard-worker. He was an overachiever as a player and a lot of times those overachievers as players make great coaches. And he learned from someone who I respect a great deal, Herb Sendek, in his last stop. So the timing for him to come to Arizona (is right). He’s hungry, he’s young.”
Both of Arizona’s new assistants — Danny Peters, 31, being the other — are young, which Miller believes will bring stability to the UA program.
Arizona lost assistant coaches to the head coaching ranks after the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
Miller also lauded Gainey’s knack for developing players and connecting “with today’s players on the recruiting trail and inside our own program.”
“I think that when you build a cohesive unit or staff or team, you have a lot of different ingredients. People that are talented in their own right, but complement each other,” Miller said.
“The two that we brought back are on the younger side, which I think gives us the most stability that we can have. I think it’s awesome when coaches leave your program to become head coaches and we’ve had several do that. Each of them did an excellent job while they were here, but right now, I think the stability, the continuity — younger coaches are going to build their track record at Arizona and are here for multiple years — we have that with both Danny Peters and Justin Gainey.”