Jim Larranaga is a born New Yorker who brings toughness to whatever program he takes over. He spent twenty-five years building up small school programs before getting his shot in a big conference with Miami. The 63-year old head coach is wasting no time in making the Hurricanes a contender in the ACC, and he is doing it by demanding his team to be as tough and resilient as he is.
Larranaga’s first head coaching opportunity came at Bowling Green. He would coach here for eleven years, turning around an obscure program, and finished his last four seasons there with winning records. After proving himself with the Falcons, he was hired to turn around George Mason. In his fourteen years leading the Patriots, they made nine post season appearances, including the miracle run to the Final Four in 2006. By 2011, Larranaga had built a program that few “big schools” wanted to schedule and one that they certainly did not want to see in March.
That is when Miami came calling.
Since joining the ACC from the Big East in 2004, the Hurricanes had been an annual doormat. However, Larranaga has come in and once again made his team into one of the better rebounding groups in his conference. He made them efficient offensively, and required nightly efforts of his team (something Bob Huggins would kill for right now). In two years, he has posted a record of 33-16 at Miami, including 13-7 in the ACC, and is 5-0 this year after upsetting number one ranked Duke. Larranaga seems to have yet another program poised to add mayhem to March Madness, typical kid from the Bronx.