When new athletic director Shawn Eichorst was first introduced, he said he was looking for a basketball coach that is “a fundamentally sound teacher of the game.”
He may have found his man.
The University of Miami announced Jim Larranaga as its new head basketball coach on Friday night. He is leaving behind a program at George Mason that he has coached since 1997.
“I am very excited to be here,” Larranaga said in his introductory press conference. “It didn’t take me long to feel like a part of the program when [junior]Malcolm Grant tried to pronounce my last name correctly.”
In 14 years at George Mason, Larranaga compiled a record of 273-164. He led the Patriots to five NCAA tournaments in his time there, including a run to the Final Four back in 2006.
He takes over a program at Miami that went 43-69 over the past seven seasons for former coach Frank Haith. Though the program has struggled with attendance and plays in a competitive ACC, Larranaga has stated his willingness and excitement to take on the challenge.
“Our challenge is going to be to build a program that can sustain success over an extended period of time, so that everyone in this community is going to be dying to get a ticket to watch us play,” he said. “You may say ‘That ain’t happening here.’ But I’ve heard all that before.”
In his limited time here, he believes that the talent on the Hurricane roster can compete with anyone else in the country.
“I would not have left [George Mason] if we did not feel that we had that we have that caliber of talent already here at the U,” he said. “That we had the capabilities of challenging the very best teams, not only in the ACC, but in the entire country.”
Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at email@example.com