April 22, 2011 — Coral Gables — University of Miami Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst has announced the hiring of Jim Larranaga (LARE-uh-NAY-guh) as the 12th head coach of the men’s basketball program.
Larranaga leaves George Mason after 14 seasons, a program he has guided to five NCAA Tournament appearances (2011, 2008, 2006, 2001, 1999) – including an unprecedented run to the 2006 Final Four that captured the nation’s attention, defeating Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and UConn along the way. Following that run, he was selected the 2006 Clair Bee Coach of the Year.
"Coach Larranaga is the real deal,” said University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala. “He's a winner, an inspirational leader, and he cares deeply about his players and staff. We're delighted to welcome him and his wife as the newest members of the Miami Hurricane family."
Larranaga was officially introduced to the Miami family during a press conference on Friday evening. To read about the press conference and view video from the event, click here.
Over 14 seasons with George Mason, Larranaga built the Patriots’ program into a perennial contender in the highly-regarded Colonial Athletic Association, winning more games than any other coach in program and conference history (273) en route to three conference titles (2008, 2001, 1999).
A two-time CAA Coach of the Year honoree, Larranaga earned the accolade in 2011, after leading the Patriots to a 27-7 overall record and 16-2 conference mark en route to the CAA regular-season title and their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance under his leadership. Seeded a program-best eighth in the NCAA Tournament, George Mason rallied from a double-digit deficit to defeat ninth-seeded Villanova, 61-57, before falling to overall No. 1 seed Ohio State in the third round.
Last season, Larranaga’s Patriots – who were ranked 24th in the final RPI – finished the season 11th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (39.5), 18th in scoring margin (10.3), 22nd in turnovers (11.1), 26th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.28) and 37th in scoring defense (62.5). During its 16-game win streak – which catapulted Mason to No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll on Feb. 28 – all but four victories came by a double-digit margin. That streak included the 71-51 win at VCU on Feb. 15, with Mason holding the Rams to a season-low offensive output.
Larranaga earned his first conference accolades in 1999 after guiding the Patriots to a 19-11 overall record and a 13-3 CAA mark – making a 10-game improvement over the previous season and leading the program to its first-ever conference regular season championship, its second CAA Tournament title and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1989.
With 27 years of head coaching experience, the native of Bronx, N.Y., previously served as the head coach at Bowling Green for 11 seasons (1986-1997) and at Division II American International (Springfield, Mass.) for two seasons (1977-79).
In addition, he has had assistant coaching stints at Davidson (1971-76) and Virginia (1979-86) – where he helped the Cavaliers reach the NCAA Final Four on two occasions (1981 and 1984), finish in the top five of the AP and UPI polls, win three regular season ACC championships and make four NCAA Tournament appearances. Larranaga was on the staff during the careers of three-time National Player of the Year Ralph Sampson and NBA first-round draft choice Olden Polynice.
A 1971 graduate of Providence College with a degree in economics, Larranaga was a four-year letterman for the Friars. As the team captain in his senior season, he led Providence to a 20-8 record and an NIT appearance. He graduated as the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,258 points and was selected in the sixth round of the draft by the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association. He was inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame in 1991.
Larranaga, 61, and his wife, Liz, have two sons – Jay, who played for his father at Bowling Green and is the head coach of the NBDL’s Erie Bayhawks, and Jon, who was a member of his father's George Mason teams from 1999-2003 – and three grandchildren.
Larranaga takes over a program that loses just one player in Adrian Thomas and returns four starters and the team’s top-three scorers from last season. The Hurricanes went 21-15 in 2011, advancing to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
To renew or purchase tickets for the 2011-12 Miami men’s basketball season, please contact the Hurricane Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-CANES or visit us online at hurricanesports.com.
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