Jim Larranaga

Head Men's Basketball Coach, University of Miami

Exclusively WSB

Jim Larrañaga was named the 12th head coach of the University of Miami basketball program on April 22, 2011.

After leading UM to the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16, and winning the school’s first ACC regular season and tournament championships, Larrañaga was honored as the AP, Naismith, USBWA Henry Iba and ACC Coach of the Year. The Bronx native helped Miami to a No. 2 national ranking by both the AP and USA TODAY, and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. He is the 10th coach in the last 10 years to lead two top-10 programs, as Miami was No. 2 on Feb. 18, 2013, and George Mason was No. 8 in the final Top 25 poll in 2006.

In 2014-15 Larrañaga led the Hurricanes to the championship game of the NIT, played in his home state of New York, his first time competing as a head coach in Madison Square Garden. The Hurricanes’ 25-13 record marked the second-most victories at the school, behind UM's 29 in 2012-13, and Larrañaga’s fourth 25-win season as a head coach. In January, the Canes downed eventual national champion then-No. 4 Duke, 90-74, at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the only team to defeat Duke at home this season. Miami also defeated No. 8/7 Florida and Syracuse on their home courts, two of Miami's 10 regular season wins away from home. The Canes ranked 13th in the country in turnovers per game (10.1), were 22 in the nation with a 74.6 percent clip at the free throw line and No. 53 with 7.7 3-pointers made per game. Miami finished the season sixth in the ACC after being projected to finish 10th, the fourth-straight year the Canes have exceeded expectations.  Junior forward Tonye Jekiri was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team and third in voting for ACC Most Improved Player, and along with classmates Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez, all three were honorable mentions to the All-ACC team. 

Returning just 13 percent of the team’s scoring, 15 percent of rebounding and no starters from the championship season, Larrañaga led the 2013-14 Hurricanes to a 17-16 record with a 10th-place, 7-11 mark in the ACC. After starting the year No. 175 in field goal defense, the Canes ended the year No. 39 in the NCAA in the category. The Canes sent five games to overtime and played 13 games that were decided by five points or less, and won five of the last eight games to post UM’s seventh-straight winning season. Five more seniors graduated under Larrañaga’s watch, with the sixth senior earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees next spring.

Larrañaga, who earned his 500th win during the 2013-14 season, directed the Canes to a 27-point win over No. 1 Duke and three other 20+ point wins over ACC opponents this season, including North Carolina (+26), Florida State (+24) and Boston College (+22). UM’s 29 overall and 15 ACC wins in 2012-13 were program-bests, as was the 14-game winning streak and 13-0 start in conference play. Other program firsts include defeating all three teams in the North Carolina Triangle in the same season, beating a trio of teams in the Top 20 since joining the ACC and hosting five home sellouts at the BankUnited Center.

Individually, Larrañaga saw Shane Larkin earn the ACC Player of the Year and Lute Olson National Player of the Year awards, as well as All-American status and finalist nods for the Bob Cousy, John Wooden and James Naismith player of the year honors before declaring early for the 2013 NBA Draft. Larkin was also the ACC Tournament MVP, on the ACC Defensive team and a defensive All-American. Durand Scott was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, three players—Larkin, Scott and Kenny Kadji— were listed on all-conference teams and four were on the ACC All-Tournament Team—Larkin, Scott, Julian Gamble and Trey McKinney Jones.

All six seniors on the Sweet 16 team earned academic degrees from the University of Miami and one player was listed on the All-ACC Academic Team.

Larrañaga came to Miami after serving as the head coach at George Mason for 14 seasons. He guided that program 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.

In Year One at The U, the Canes posted a 20-13 record, making Larrañaga the first Miami head coach to record 20 wins in his inaugural season in Coral Gables. Under the new coaching staff, UM won nine games in conference play, the first time Miami has posted a winning record in ACC play since joining the conference for the 2004-05 season. The Canes ended the season tied for fourth in the ACC, another program-best accomplishment.

On February 5, 2012, Larrañaga and his crew did what no other hoops coach at Miami had done when he took the Canes into Cameron Indoor Stadium and defeated No. 7/5 Duke. The Canes downed the Blue Devils 78-74 in overtime that afternoon, led by 27 points and 12 rebounds from Reggie Johnson, and received votes in the next AP Poll for the first time since 2010. Gaining momentum, Miami then beat No. 15/16 Florida State at home in front of a packed house, UM's first win over FSU since 2009. Teetering on the edge of The Dance bubble, the Canes went 1-1 in the ACC Tournament and ended up in the NIT, defeating Valparaiso, but falling to Minnesota, the eventual NIT Championship runner-up.

Three players earned postseason recognition under Larrañaga's watch, as Kenny Kadji was selected to the All-ACC Third Team, Durand Scott was voted an honorable mention performer and Shane Larkin earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team.

Larrañaga built the GMU 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, Larrañaga earned the accolade in 2011, 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.

Larrañaga's teams are known for their offensive efficiency and a frenetic defense dubbed the "Scramble." In Larrañaga's last season, his 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.

He became Mason's all-time leader in men's basketball victories with his 131st win on January 22, 2005, with the 77-58 decision at James Madison. He became the CAA's all- time leader in wins on February 4, 2006, when the Patriots defeated UNC Wilmington. His Mason teams went 182-89 in CAA play.

In 2006, Larrañaga became the first coach at a mid-major school to take his team to the Final Four in 27 years and earned an at-large berth for a CAA team for the first time in 20 years. Along the way, he led Mason to a school record in wins, the school's first-ever national ranking, George Mason's first-ever appearance in the Top 10 and the school's first wins over Top 10 teams.

The Patriots finished the year with a 27-8 record and a No. 8 ranking in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Earlier that season, Mason cracked the polls at No. 25, but NCAA tournament wins over Michigan State, No. 10 North Carolina, Wichita State and No. 2 Connecticut vaulted Mason up the poll, into the national conscience and made Larrañaga a household name.

The remarkable run at George Mason began just two years into Larrañaga's tenure. After going 9-18 in his first year with the Patriots in 1997-98, Larrañaga guided the 1999 Patriots' squad to a 19-11 overall record and a 13-3 CAA mark. That season, he earned his first Coach of the Year accolades in the CAA and NABC District 4 after making a 10- game improvement and leading the program to its first-ever conference regular season championship, its second CAA Tournament title and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1989.

The Patriots followed that with another 19-11 overall mark in 1999-2000, tying for first place in the CAA at 12-4 and earning the top seed in the conference tournament. In 2000- 01, the Patriots finished 18-12 overall and 11-5 in the CAA, good for a tie for second place, and they won the CAA Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. The Patriots produced another solid campaign with a 19- 10 overall record (13-5 in the CAA) and a NIT berth in 2001-02. Mason's 2002-03 roster was hampered by injuries, but managed to pull together a 16-12 record (11-7 in the CAA), and a fourth-place CAA finish.

In 2003-04, Larrañaga led the Patriots to a 7-2 non-conference record and to a school- record 23-win season, as Mason finished 23-10 on the year, its first 20-or-more win campaign in 14 years. Gaining an NIT berth (the Patriots fourth postseason appearance in six years), Larrañaga led Mason to two consecutive postseason victories for the first time in school history.

Under Larrañaga, the Patriots have won three CAA titles including the 2008 championship when Mason went 23-11. The Patriots have appeared in the postseason each of the past four seasons for the first time in Mason history, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, the NIT in 2009, the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2010 and back to the NCAA Tournament in 2011.

With 28 years of head coaching experience, the native of Bronx, New York, previously served as the head coach at Bowling Green for 11 seasons (1986-1997) and at Division II American International for two seasons (1977-79).

At Bowling Green, he made an immediate impact in his first season. In 1986-87, the Falcons were the nation's most improved team under a first-year head coach that took over a program with a losing record, posting a 15-14 record for an eight-game improvement over the previous season. Larrañaga went on to record a 170-144 mark in 11 years at Bowling Green, earning the 1997 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading Bowling Green to a 22-10 record, a conference regular season co- championship and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. The 22 victories were the most by a Bowling Green team in 47 years and the 13 conference wins were the second-highest total in Falcon history.

Larrañaga's 170 victories at Bowling Green ranked second all-time on the Falcons' coaching list and he was only the second coach to record consecutive postseason appearances. Larrañaga led his squad to NIT berths in 1990 (18-11) and again in 1991 (17-13), the first time the Falcons enjoyed back-to-back postseason appearances since the early '60s. Bowling Green won better than 61 percent of its games in Larrañaga's last four years, recording a 70-44 mark during that stretch. The Falcons finished fourth or better in the MAC in five of Larrañaga's 11 seasons and he is among the winningest coaches in MAC history.

Larrañaga received his first head coaching position in 1977 when he was named to the post at American International, a Division II program in Springfield, Massachusetts. Taking over a team that had suffered through five consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival, Larrañaga turned AIC into a winning program in his first year and compiled a 28-25 mark in two seasons.

A 1971 graduate of Providence College with a degree in Economics, Larrañaga 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 the team's top scorer as a sophomore and junior and was named New England's Division I Sophomore of the Year in 1969. He was inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame in 1991.

His first coaching opportunity came at Davidson College, where he served as an assistant coach to Terry Holland. Davidson captured three Southern Conference regular-season championships and an NIT berth in his five years there, and he compiled a 47-12 record doubling as the freshman team coach. In 1976, he left Davidson and spent one season as player-coach for the Geronemo Basketball Club in Belgium.

After his two-year stint at American International, Larrañaga was reunited with Holland at the University of Virginia in April 1979. An assistant coach under Holland for seven seasons from 1979-86, 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 and average more than 24 victories per season. The Cavaliers were 169-62, won three regular season Atlantic Coast Conference championships and made four NCAA Tournament appearances. Virginia also made a pair of NIT appearances, winning the NIT Championship in 1980. Larrañaga 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.

Larrañaga, and his wife, Liz, have two sons and four grandchildren. Their son Jay played for his father at Bowling Green, was the head coach of the NBDL's Erie Bayhawks, and his now an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. Jon was a member of his father's George Mason teams from 1999-2003.