James Whitford followed Sean Miller from Xavier to Arizona in 2009. Whitford, who has over 15 years of college coaching experience during stings at Miami (OH), Xavier and Arizona has coached on teams that have appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments.
Whitford began his career as an administrative assistant at Miami (OH) for two seasons before becoming the top assistant under then-head coach Charlie Coles for the next eight seasons. Whitford then joined Sean Miller’s staff at Xavier, serving as an assistant coach from 2005-09. At Xavier, Whitford helped the Muskateers to four NCAA Tournament appearances which included two Sweet 16 appearances and a Elite Eight run.
At Arizona, Whitford’s primary responsibilities are recruiting coordination, post player development and defensive coordination. In 2010-11, Arizona made a run to the Elite Eight after winning the Pac-10 regular season championship. Arizona’s defenses with Whitford on the bench have ranked among some of the best in the nation the past three seasons in opponent field goal shooting efficiency and total points allowed. By way of example, Arizona’s 2011-12 squad allowed just 62.7 points per game in 35 outings which was the lowest scoring defense figure for the basketball program since 1985-86.
Additionally, Arizona’s last three recruiting classes have been ranked nationally, peaking last season when Arizona landed the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class. In 2013, Arizona has already signed 5-star recruit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Whitford helped develop Arizona forward Derrick Williams into the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2011 NBA Draft.