A lot of people thought that Jim Larranaga took the Miami Hurricanes‘ head coaching gig that he was doing so for one final big payday before retirement. That he was getting longer in the tooth, wanted to coach in the warm Miami climate and oversee a program whose expectations were no higher than Reggie Johnson‘s vertical. Well, regardless if that was the case, Larranaga has done plenty of good things in his two years with the school.
Larranaga’s previous occupation has been well documented. He coached for George Mason, led them to an improbable Final Four run and ended up being the university’s winning-est coach in history (271). Then a few mediocre years happened, another trip to the big dance and a job opened up with Miami.
His first year with the school was not a complete bust even though they did not make the NCAA Tournament. Larranaga led the program to their first winning season in the ACC (9-7). The Hurricanes ended up with a 20-13 overall record and went dancing into the postseason, albeit the NIT postseason.
Fast-forward to this season and Larranaga has his team in the Sweet 16. He is essentially taking a group of players straight from a Hollywood casting call. Miami features players nobody wanted, a soul-eater and the son of a MLB superstar. That is not not exactly how normal coaches go about recruiting for greatness, although, almost all of the players in Miami’s rotation were not his recruits (Sans a few guys).
The Hurricanes are going to be battling another coach in the Sweet Sixteen who does not get enough credit, Buzz Williams. Regardless of the outcome, the days leading up to to the game should be great as there isn’t two more wonderful or charming personalities in college hoops.
One final payday, I don’t know about that. Maybe it was more of one final program to take deep in the NCAA Tournament. Or it could quite possibly be that Larranaga wants to do more than just go dancing deep, that he actually wants to win the whole shebang.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone