The University of Miami men’s and women’s basketball programs each shared a season to remember, as both advanced further than any other Miami team ever has in the NCAA tournament.
Women’s head coach Katie Meier and her squad entered the tournament seeded 9th, defeating the likes of the 8th-seeded Oklahoma State Cowgirls, the number one seeded Indiana Hoosiers on their home court, and the 4-seed Villanova Wildcats on their way to the first Elite Eight appearance in Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball history, where they fell to the eventual NCAA champion LSU Tigers.
On the men’s side, Jim Larrañaga was determined as ever to guide his team to a place where no Hurricane has gone before, the NCAA Final Four. In Coach L’s twelfth season as captain of the Hurricanes ship, he has amassed a program leading 255 wins, while sending his Canes dancing on six different occasions in March.
The journey for both programs since the arrival of Meier and Larrañaga, has been full of memorable moments, scintillating sounds, and captivating calls by the legendary voice of Miami Hurricanes athletics, Joseph Zagacki.
Better known as “Joe Z”, Zagacki has established himself as a staple in South Florida sports radio by being witness to countless accomplishments while calling games for Canes athletics. In his 34th season as part of the Hurricanes broadcast team and 21st as the voice of the Canes, 2023 was the first time he was allowed to chronicle the men’s basketball team as far as the NCAA Final Four.
A quest that began on St. Patrick’s Day in Albany, New York, saw Miami beat the Drake Bulldogs in round one, dominate the Indiana Hoosiers in the round of 32, beat the 1-seed Houston Cougars in the Sweet 16, and upset the 2nd-seed Texas Longhorns in come from behind fashion in the Elite Eight, to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
Zagacki, a 2019 University of Miami Honorary Alumnus, took some time to express the significance of the recent accomplishments by both teams. He touched on everything from the hectic schedule beginning in the ACC tournament, the up-close and personal perspective he has watching the relationship between Coach L and his players, the significance this run will have on the future of Canes hoops, some name association, and his thoughts on the best Canes to play in 12 years under Larrañaga.
The long-time Hurricanes play-by-play voice was very blunt while sharing his opinions on the perception of the men’s program this season after national media seemed to mention NIL as the one and only reason for Miami’s success.
This was an insightful interview with someone that has perspective like no other, having seen hundreds of games calling Canes hoops. Hopefully, Joe will be back with us next year talking about a national championship run.