Jim Larrañaga

Last updated

Jim Larrañaga
Jim Larranaga 2014.jpg
Larrañaga in 2014
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Miami (FL)
Conference ACC
Record200–130 (.606)
Biographical details
Born (1949-10-02) October 2, 1949 (age 71)
Bronx, New York
Playing career
1968–1971 Providence
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1976 Davidson (assistant)
1977–1979 American International
1979–1986 Virginia (assistant)
1986–1997 Bowling Green
1997–2011 George Mason
2011–present Miami (FL)
Head coaching record
Overall670–464 (.591)
Tournaments9–10 (NCAA Division I)
7–8 (NIT)
0–1 (CIT)
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Regional—Final Four (2006)
MAC regular season (1997)
4 CAA regular season (1999, 2000, 2006, 2011)
3 CAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2008)
ACC regular season (2013)
ACC Tournament (2013)
Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award (2006)
Adolph Rupp Cup (2013)
AP College Coach of the Year (2013)
Henry Iba Award (2013)
Naismith College Coach of the Year (2013)
MAC Coach of the Year (1997)
CAA Coach of the Year (1999, 2011)
ACC Coach of the Year (2013, 2016)

James Joseph Larrañaga ( /ˌlɛərəˈnɡə/ LAIR-ə-NAY-gə; born October 2, 1949) is an American college basketball coach and the head men's basketball coach of the University of Miami, a position he has held since 2011. Previously, he served as the head men's basketball coach at American International College from 1977 to 1979, Bowling Green State University from 1986 to 1997, and George Mason University from 1997 to 2011, where he coached the Patriots to 13 consecutive winning seasons and became a media sensation during the Patriots' improbable run to the Final Four of the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. Larrañaga won several national coach of the year awards in 2013 and has won over 600 games as a head coach.



Early life and education

Growing up in the Bronx, one of six children, Larrañaga attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, [1] where he starred on the basketball varsity under coach Jack Curran, graduating in 1967. He went on to play basketball at Providence College. He was the basketball team captain as a senior, 1970–71, leading Providence College 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 the team's top scorer as a sophomore and junior, being named New England's Division I Sophomore of the Year in 1969. (Larrañaga's time at Providence was recognized with his induction into the Providence College Hall of Fame in 1991.) He graduated from Providence in 1971 with an economics degree, and was selected in the sixth round of the 1971 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He never sought an NBA career, opting instead to go into coaching.

Larrañaga's grandfather was born in Cuba of Basque parents, and was part of the Por Larrañaga cigar company in that country. [2] He is also the father of NBA assistant coach Jay Larrañaga.

Coaching career

Immediately after graduating from Providence, Larrañaga took a job as an assistant to Terry Holland at Davidson College, also serving as the freshman team coach. In his five years under Holland, Davidson won three regular-season Southern Conference titles and reached the NIT once, and he also amassed a 47–12 record as freshman coach. In 1976, he moved to Belgium in order to serve as player-coach for a professional club, but only stayed there for one season.

He returned to the U.S. in 1977 for his first head coaching job at American International College, a Division II program which had losing records in the previous five years. In two years at AIC, his teams had a 28–25 record, including a win against Northeastern University, who was coached by Jim Calhoun at that time. In 1979, he was reunited with his former Davidson mentor Holland, who by now had become the head coach at the University of Virginia. Larrañaga became an assistant at a program that had begun to emerge as a power in the ACC, arriving at the same time as highly touted freshman Ralph Sampson. In seven seasons at Virginia, Larrañaga was on the bench for an NIT title in 1980 and NCAA Final Four berths in 1981 and 1984.

Bowling Green

In 1986, Larrañaga left Virginia for the head coaching job at Bowling Green State University. In his first season there, the Falcons improved by eight games over the 1985–86 season, finishing 15–14. He went on to record a 170–144 record in 11 years there, and was only the second coach in Bowling Green history to take the Falcons to postseason play in consecutive years (the 1990 and 1991 editions of the NIT). During his tenure at Bowling Green the Falcons defeated the perennial national powers Kentucky, Michigan State (twice), Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue. In his final season at Bowling Green (1996–97), he led the Falcons to a regular-season co-championship in the Mid-American Conference and another NIT berth, and was also named the conference's Coach of the Year. He is still the second-winningest coach in school history (behind only Hall of Famer Harold Anderson), as well as one of the winningest coaches in the Mid-American Conference. One notable NBA player who played for Larrañaga was guard Antonio Daniels, [3] who was selected fourth overall in the 1997 draft.

George Mason

Larrañaga arrived at George Mason in 1997. His first team only went 9–18, but signs of improvement were present. In the 1998–99 season, the Patriots went 19–11, won the school's first Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title in history, and won the conference tournament to advance to the NCAA tournament. The Patriots would again go to the NCAA tournament in 2001 and two NITs in 2002 and 2004. The 2004 team was notable as Mason's first 20-win team in 14 years, and also won consecutive postseason games for the first time in school history.

2004–05 season

The 2004–05 team, with three junior starters but dominated by freshmen and sophomores, went 16–13. However, these players would prove themselves the following season.

2005–06: The dream season

The Patriots entered the 2005–06 season as a strong contender for the CAA title. They entered the conference tournament 22–6, finishing in a tie for the regular-season title with UNC Wilmington. Near the end of the regular season, they were briefly ranked in the Top 25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, the school's first ranking ever, and were on the brink of making it to the Associated Press poll. They also narrowly lost to Wake Forest and Mississippi State, and survived a tough match at Wichita State in the ESPN-sponsored BracketBusters event.

However, from Mason's perspective, the CAA tournament would not live up to their expectations. The Patriots survived an overtime scare in the quarterfinals from Georgia State, and then lost to Hofstra in the semifinals. During that match, starting guard Tony Skinn hit a Hofstra player below the belt, earning a one-game suspension for his action. Many observers considered Mason to be "on the bubble" for an NCAA bid; some believed that Skinn's suspension would lead the NCAA Selection Committee to leave Mason out of the field. However, the committee put the Patriots in the field, making them the first at-large team from the CAA in 20 years. Some commentators, notably Billy Packer, criticized Mason's entry in the tournament.

The Patriots would enter the tournament as a No. 11 seed in the Washington, D.C. Regional, facing 2005 Final Four participant Michigan State. They pulled a 75–65 upset, giving Larrañaga and George Mason their first NCAA tournament victory ever. Next was a matchup against defending national champion North Carolina. Prior to the game, Larrañaga famously told his players: "Their fans think they're supermen. Our fans know we're kryptonite." [4] The Patriots found themselves in a 16–2 hole, but climbed out of it to win 65–60 and advance to the regional site at the Verizon Center, about 30 minutes away from their campus.

The Patriots next won a rematch with Wichita State, controlling the game throughout and winning 63–55. That put them in the regional final against 2004 champions and regional top seed Connecticut. The Patriots trailed by as much as 12 during the first half, and by nine early in the second. However, they would storm back to make the game close the rest of the way. Larrañaga would motivate his team during timeouts by telling his players that the UConn players didn't know what conference George Mason was in. [5] He told them that on this day "CAA" stood for "Connecticut Assassins Association." Mason would win 86–84 in overtime, becoming only the fourth team not from a BCS AQ conference to make the Final Four in a quarter-century (after UNLV in 1987 and 1991 and Utah in 1998). Their improbable run ended on April 1 in Indianapolis when they lost 73–58 to eventual national champion Florida in the national semifinals.

Larrañaga received the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award for his accomplishments during this season. Larrañaga's overall head coaching record going into the Final Four was 366–273.[ citation needed ]

2010–11: The Revival

The 2010–2011 season brought great promise for the Patriots. Led by seniors Cam Long and Isiah Tate, the Patriots' campaign started off with mixed emotions as they dropped two games vs NC State and Wofford. From then, the Patriots sparked a seven-game winning streak including a key home win in the 'Battle of the Orange Line' versus George Washington University. The following four games proved to be a test as GMU traveled to the University of Dayton, played at home versus the University of Delaware, and away at both Hofstra University and at Old Dominion University. After the lowly spell of dropping three of those four, the Patriots became red hot as they went undefeated during the regular season winning 16 straight games including a crucial conference game at Virginia Commonwealth University. Heading into the CAA tournament, the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll ranked George Mason as the number 25 team in the country, which was their first national ranking since 2006 when they made the improbable run to the Final Four. Senior Cam Long was voted first team all-conference and Coach Larrañaga was awarded the coach of the year. GMU would fall from the rankings after a semifinal loss to VCU in the conference tournament.

In the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Mason was assigned a No. 8 seed and faced off against No. 9 seed and Big East stalwart Villanova. In a seesaw game, Mason pulled out the victory when Luke Hancock knocked down a late three, and Mike Morrison threw down a last-second breakaway dunk. In the next round, Mason lost to No. 1 overall seed Ohio State.

Other achievements

As of February 2011, Larrañaga's 271 career wins at Mason makes him the winningest coach in the history of both the school and the CAA. He has won CAA Coach of the Year twice, in 1999 and in 2011. The latter award came after the Patriots reeled off a school-record 15 straight wins to finish the regular season, remaining undefeated at the Patriot Center, setting a school record for regular-season wins (25), and securing the No. 1 seed heading into the CAA tournament. [6]

University of Miami

On April 22, 2011, Larrañaga accepted the head coaching position at the University of Miami. [7]

In his first season at Miami, he led the team to a 9–7 record in-conference. It marked the school's first ever winning record in the ACC.

In his second season, Larrañaga led the Hurricanes to arguably their best season since the Rick Barry era. They won the ACC regular-season title (the first time in 11 years, and only the fourth time in 32 years, that a team from North Carolina had not won at least a share of the title). The highlight of the season was an unprecedented 90-63 rout of #1 ranked Duke. That win was Miami's first-ever defeat of a top-ranked team, and the largest margin of defeat for a #1 team ever.

On March 17, 2013, Larrañaga coached the Hurricanes to the ACC tournament title—the first tournament title in the program's history — with an 87-77 win over North Carolina. On April 4, 2013, Larrañaga was voted the Associated Press' college basketball coach of the year. [8] A week later, the Hurricanes advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with their school-record 29th win. The season ended the following weekend with a loss to Marquette. He claimed the Hurricanes had not enough energy to win the game because of Reggie Johnson's injury and Shane Larkin's sickness. [9]

Academic activities

In August 2007, Larrañaga was appointed as an associate professor in the GMU School of Management (SOM), specifically in the school's Executive MBA program. Although his basketball schedule only allowed him to teach part-time, he was a frequent presenter in classes on leadership, management, and team development, and also often spoke at SOM-sponsored seminars. He had been a guest lecturer in the SOM since arriving at Mason in 1997. [10]

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
American International Yellow Jackets (NCAA Division II independent)(1977–1979)
1977–78American International14–13
1978–79American International13–13
American International:27–26 (.509)
Bowling Green Falcons (Mid-American Conference)(1986–1997)
1986–87 Bowling Green15–1410–63rd
1987–88 Bowling Green12–167–9T–5th
1988–89 Bowling Green13–157–9T–6th
1989–90 Bowling Green18–119–7T–3rd NIT First Round
1990–91 Bowling Green17–139–7T–4th NIT First Round
1991–92 Bowling Green14–158–85th
1992–93 Bowling Green11–168–10T–6th
1993–94 Bowling Green18–1012–6T–2nd
1994–95 Bowling Green16–1110–8T–5th
1995–96 Bowling Green14–139–9T–6th
1996–97 Bowling Green22–1013–5T–1st NIT First Round
Bowling Green:170–144 (.541)102–84 (.588)
George Mason Patriots (Colonial Athletic Association)(1997–2011)
1997–98 George Mason 9–186–10T–5th
1998–99 George Mason 19–1113–31st NCAA Division I Round of 64
1999–00 George Mason 19–1112–4T–1st
2000–01 George Mason 18–1211–5T–2nd NCAA Division I Round of 64
2001–02 George Mason 19–1013–52nd NIT Opening Round
2002–03 George Mason 16–1211–74th
2003–04 George Mason 23–1012–63rd NIT Second Round
2004–05 George Mason 16–1310–86th
2005–06 George Mason 27–815–3T–1st NCAA Division I Final Four
2006–07 George Mason 18–159–9T–5th
2007–08 George Mason 23–1112–63rd NCAA Division I Round of 64
2008–09 George Mason 22–1113–52nd NIT First Round
2009–10 George Mason 17–1512–64th CIT First Round
2010–11 George Mason 27–716–21st NCAA Division I Round of 32
George Mason:273–164 (.625)165–79 (.676)
Miami Hurricanes (Atlantic Coast Conference)(2011–present)
2011–12 Miami 20–139–7T–4th NIT Second Round
2012–13 Miami 29–715–31st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
2013–14 Miami 17–167–1110th
2014–15 Miami 25–1310–8T–6th NIT Runner-up
2015–16 Miami 27–813–5T–2nd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
2016–17 Miami 21–1210–8T–7th NCAA Division I Round of 64
2017–18 Miami 22–1011–7T–3rd NCAA Division I Round of 64
2018–19 Miami 14–185–13T–11th
2019–20 Miami 15–167–13T–10thPostseason not held
2020–21 Miami 10–174–1513th
Miami:200–130 (.606)91–90 (.503)
Total:670–464 (.590)

      National champion        Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion        Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion      Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also

Related Research Articles

Paul Hewitt American basketball coach

Paul Harrington Hewitt is an American college basketball coach and the former head coach at Georgia Institute of Technology and George Mason University. He grew up in Westbury, New York. In 2021, he was named the head coach of the Agua Caliente Clippers, the NBA G League affiliate of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rick Barnes American basketball coach

Richard Dale Barnes is a men's college basketball head coach for the Tennessee Volunteers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Barnes coached the Texas Longhorns from 1998 to 2015, taking the team to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons, including 14 straight from 1999 to 2012, as well as a Final Four appearance led by T. J. Ford in 2003. Barnes previously coached at George Mason University, Providence College, and Clemson University. He has an overall record of 24–24 (.500) in the NCAA tournament.

George Mason Patriots

The George Mason Patriots are the athletic teams of George Mason University (GMU) of Fairfax, Virginia. The Patriots compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference for most sports.

Tony Skinn American basketball player

Tony Oludewa Skinn is a Nigerian American former professional basketball player, and a former college basketball player, who played starting guard for the George Mason University Patriots. Skinn is currently an assistant coach for the Seton Hall University men's basketball team. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Skinn migrated with his family to the United States at the age of two. He has since lived in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

2007–08 George Mason Patriots mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2007–08 George Mason Patriots men's basketball team began their 42nd season of collegiate play on November 9, 2007 at the Patriot Center versus Vermont. George Mason won the 2008 CAA tournament and advanced to the 2008 NCAA tournament. The Patriots were awarded a #12 seed, but lost in the first round to Notre Dame.

VCU Rams mens basketball

The VCU Rams men's basketball team is the intercollegiate men's basketball team that represents Virginia Commonwealth University. The Rams joined the Atlantic 10 Conference in the 2012–13 season after previously competing in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). In 2017, VCU was ranked the 40th most valuable men's basketball program in the country by The Wall Street Journal. With a valuation of $56.9 million, VCU ranked second in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and second in the A-10 Conference. The team is coached by Mike Rhoades.

2005–06 George Mason Patriots mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2005–06 George Mason Patriots men's basketball team represented George Mason University in the 2005–2006 NCAA Basketball season. The team achieved several milestones, including a team-record 23 regular season wins, and earned at at-large bid to that year's NCAA Tournament.

The 2008 CAA Men's Basketball Tournament was an NCAA Division 1 College Basketball Conference tournament that was held at the Richmond Coliseum on March 7–10, 2008, to decide the Colonial Athletic Association conference champion. The winner advances to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournament, a 64-team tournament to decide a national champion of college basketball.

College of Charleston Cougars mens basketball

The Charleston Cougars men's basketball team is an NCAA Division I college basketball team competing in the Colonial Athletic Association. Home games are played at TD Arena, located on College of Charleston's campus in Charleston, South Carolina, United States. While a member of the NAIA, they were National Champions in 1983.

William & Mary Tribe mens basketball

The William & Mary Tribe men's basketball team represents the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in NCAA Division I competition. The school's team competes in the Colonial Athletic Association and play their home games in Kaplan Arena. William and Mary Coach, Dane Fischer was hired as the 31st coach in school history following the dismissal of Coach Tony Shaver. Shaver served as the head coach from 2003-2019 and leads the school in all-time wins for a coach.

History of George Mason basketball

George Mason Patriots men's basketball program dates to 1966. Basketball and athletics as a whole have contributed significantly to George Mason's popularity and success. The Patriots are the mascot and logo of George Mason University. The Patriots home court for both the men and women is at the EagleBank Arena, which is in Fairfax Virginia. The Patriots compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Until 2012–13, they competed in the Colonial Athletic Association, better known as the CAA. Both conferences are part of NCAA Division I sports. The men's team is coached by Dave Paulsen. The women's team is coached by Nyla Milleson.

Providence Friars mens basketball Basketball team that represents Providence College

The Providence Friars men's basketball team represents Providence College in NCAA Division I competition, and they are a founding member of the Big East Conference. They play their home games at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Since 2011, the head coach is Ed Cooley.

Marshall Thundering Herd mens basketball

The Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball team represents Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. They compete in the NCAA Division I as a member of Conference USA.

2008–09 Providence Friars mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2008–09 Providence Friars men's basketball team represented Providence College in the Big East Conference. The team finished with a 10–8 conference record and a 19–14 record overall.

Miami Hurricanes mens basketball

The Miami Hurricanes men's basketball team represents the University of Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The team began play in 1926, but was dropped by the University of Miami in 1971. In 1985, fourteen years later, the Hurricanes resumed play as an independent and joined the Big East Conference in 1991, winning the Big East regular season title in 2000. In 2004, in conjunction with the rest of the Miami athletic program, the team moved to the ACC. In 2012–2013, the team won its first regular season ACC championship as well as its first ACC tournament championship. The team has reached the NCAA Championship's "Sweet 16" three times. In the 2014–2015 season, they reached the final of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Hurricanes are currently coached by Jim Larrañaga and play their home games at the Watsco Center.

2010–11 George Mason Patriots mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2010–11 George Mason Patriots men's basketball team represented George Mason University during the 2010–11 college basketball season. This was the 45th season for the program. The Patriots, led by head coach Jim Larranaga, are members of the Colonial Athletic Association and played their home games at the Patriot Center. They finished the season 27–7, 16–2 in CAA play to win the conference's regular season championship. They lost in the semifinals of the 2011 CAA Men's Basketball Tournament to VCU. They received an at-large bid in the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament where they defeated Villanova in the second round before falling in the third round to Ohio State.

2011–12 VCU Rams mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2011–12 VCU Rams men's basketball team represented Virginia Commonwealth University during the 2011–12 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. It was the 44th season of the University fielding a men's basketball program. Led by third-year head coach Shaka Smart, the Rams were coming off a season marked by a run to the Final Four. Expected to finish lower in the CAA regular season standings, the Rams finished as regular season runners-up with a 15–3 conference record, before winning the 2012 CAA Men's Basketball Championship against Drexel, 59–56, earning their 11th ever berth into the NCAA Tournament. It was also the first season since 1984–85 that the Rams consecutively qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

2012–13 NCAA Division I mens basketball season

The 2012–13 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began in November with the 2K Sports Classic and ended with the Final Four in Atlanta, April 6–8.

Ryan Pearson (basketball) American basketball player

Ryan Pearson is an American professional basketball player for Boulazac Basket Dordogne of the LNB Pro A and is known for his All-American college career at George Mason University.

Michael Huger American basketball player and coach

Michael Anthony Huger is an American college basketball head coach, currently for his alma mater Bowling Green Falcons team. Huger is a native of New York City.


  1. Jeansonne, John (March 31, 2006). "Final Four George Mason, For Larranaga, it's the Final Fun". Newsday. p. A76.
  2. "Jim Larrañaga: a nod to Miami Hurricanes coach's Cuban roots". Miami Herald. March 22, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  3. "Wizards' Daniels Has a Mason Connection". Washington Post. March 31, 2006. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  4. "What are the best quotes in D.C. sports history?". The Washington Post.
  5. "George Mason Dances Past UConn To Final Four". George Mason University Athletics. March 26, 2006. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  6. Goff, Steven (March 4, 2011). "George Mason Coach Jim Larrañaga named CAA coach of the year". Washington Post.
  7. Gardner, Tim (April 22, 2011). "Jim Larrañaga leaves George Mason, accepts offer to become coach at Miami". USA Today.
  8. "Jim Larrañaga named top coach". ESPN. April 4, 2013.
  9. "Interview with AP Coach of the Year Jim Larrañaga: "Coaching awards are reflection of the team"". MY-Basket.it. May 4, 2013. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  10. "Mason Coach Jim Larrañaga Joins School of Management Executive Education Program Faculty" (Press release). George Mason University School of Management. August 15, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2016.