Monday, April 25, 2011

Jim Larranaga Moves South

The off-season coaching moves continue to surprise me.

In yet another “we need to hire somebody” move, Miami tabbed former George Mason head guy Jim Larranaga as its new coach.

Apparently, people weren’t lining up (like other jobs this cycle) to lead the Hurricanes. Some people reportedly were hoping for Kansas State’s Frank Martin, but for whatever reason that didn’t happen.

Larranaga is a safe hire. He offered rock star status at one point in his career, but now at 61 he is probably at his final stop.

The guy had major success at mid-major George Mason. He led the school to a Final Four appearance in 2006 and five overall NCAA tournaments. He was in Virginia for 14 seasons and complied a 273-164 mark. He is 470-334 in his college career.

But this new job is far from the George Mason gig. Miami has a reputation of being cheap with its basketball program. Larranaga will need to win against program apathy. And then there is this small matter (I’m kidding for my foreign readers) of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). For example, Duke and North Carolina will present problems unlike anything Larranaga faced in the mid-major circuit.

But this is a good move for Larranaga. He accomplished about all there is at George Mason. He comes to Miami with little expectation and little fanfare. And if it doesn’t work out, he can retire to his fishing boat or some other recreational activity.

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