New AD Shawn Eichorst has made his first major decision since coming to Coral Gables. He has hired George Mason coach Jim Larranaga to take over Miami's basketball program. Here's a quick rundown of Larranaga's career, via The Miami Herald:
Last season, Larranaga led Mason to a 27-7 record, the CAA regular-season title and an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Patriots lost to top seed Ohio State. His career record at Mason was 273-164.
Before coaching at George Mason, Larranaga spent 11 years as head coach at Bowling Green. He played at Providence and was drafted in the sixth round by the Detroit Pistons in the 1971 draft, but chose to turn to coaching. He declined an offer from his alma mater in 2006.
The general consensus is that Larranaga was mainly attracted by the salary bump he'll receive at UM. Larranaga is a well respected coach with a solid track record, but arguably more important than the man who was hired is what the hiring itself represents.
In hiring a 61-year-old, Eichorst has bucked the notion that Miami basketball should be hiring, or is in need of, a young, potential star of a coach. Aside from that the job itself will not attract that type of talent, the fact of the matter is that Miami is not, and will likely never be, in position to participate in that arms race. Miami has more important people to pay (namely its football coach) and a young, succesful coach at Miami will eventually leave for greener pastures and a greener bank account. This is fact, evidenced by the bolting of Leonard Hamilton, and on a smaller scale, Frank Haith. Larranaga, if successful, is not going anywhere, except maybe south to Key West when he retires. And if that scenario plays out, Miami basketball will be better off than it is now.
Note: Larranaga's press conference is at 7 p.m. EST. It will be broadcast here.