Tag Archives: George Mason Patriots

A Second Chance: Coaches Getting Another Shot on the Bench

Most college coaches are given one real shot at making an impact and leaving a legacy. It’s a win or go home type career path, with tons of fame and fortune if you’re the former but endless disgust and resentment if you find yourself in the latter category.

Hopping Herb, could find himself on this list soon enough...

Sure, there’s plenty of bench bouncers and job jumpers, who seem to find their way from school to school, mid-major to mid-major or from Raleigh, NC to Arizona State (Hello, Herb Sendek and Lon Kruger). But, many college basketball coaches open and close their head coaching careers with one bad screw up.

The lucky are afforded another opportunity, or two, or five. But, how do they fare?
This year the likes of: Billy Gillispie, Mark Gottfried, and others were all given a second chance at life in the NCAA ranks. They’ve each enjoyed some success in their career but the questions still linger.

Will Gillispie prosper as he did in College Station or will he flounder like he did at Kentucky? Is Mark Gottfried the right man for N.C State, in the post Sidney Lowe era, or will his days of mediocrity in Tuscaloosa stick with him?

The queries will keep piling up amongst fans and foes alike. The unnerving “what if” scenarios will continue to fuel the fire if immediate gratification isn’t found in the form of wins and losses. And legacies will endure further criticism and scrutiny, as analysts and experts view the actions of each journeyman with a microscopic lens.

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Filed under Coaching Carousel, General, Opinion

Hewitt to Mason, God’s Gift to St. John’s. Yes, that’s his first name.

A couple quick hitters that happened over the weekend:

God's Gift rise and fire! It's puuuuure!Praise God! Hallelujah!

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Daily Dagger – 4/23

Del’s feeling under the weather, so I’ll take over the Daily Dagger for today. And with Jim Larranaga’s recent departure from George Mason to Miami, it’s only fitting that we dedicate the Dagger to his best team ever that reached the Final Four in 2006. We were at this classic and it was truly amazing. No one thought Mason could pull off the upset against Jim Calhoun and the top seed UConn Huskies. They proved everyone wrong and gave small schools everywhere hope that they could be a Cinderalla team one day too.

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Jim Larranaga to Miami

It’s official.

Former George Mason Head Basketball Coach, Jim Larranaga, is headed to The U.

This is fairly surprising on multiple levels. First of all, I think conventional wisdom around college basketball was that Larranaga was very comfortable at George Mason and really had no intention of leaving. After leading the Patriots to the Final Four in 2006, he was one of the most sought after coaches in the country–much like Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart were this year. He rebuffed offers from multiple major conference schools, including Providence, his alma mater. All of those offers presumably would have paid him more money than he was making at GMU even after getting a substantial raise. Now, five years later, he’s ready to move on.

The other surprising part here is that Miami is where Larranaga is choosing to jump. This is a basketball program that will always be in the shadow of the football team and hasn’t had much of a history of success. They couldn’t keep their previous coach, Frank Haith, in town despite his very, very mediocre  mildly successful run as their head man. They couldn’t entice Tommy Amaker away from Harvard. Now, they are getting a very well respected coach in Jim Larranaga who has gotten his mid-major program to the tournament consistently and has taken them deep. How much must they be paying this guy???

This move kind of reminds me of the Kendrick Perkins trade this season in the NBA. Apparently when Perk was traded to the Thunder, a host of other franchises were upset that they didn’t even know he was available and admitted that they would have given up more to get him. How must some of these other programs who have been in a coaching search this offseason feel? The ADs at NC State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, and Tennessee must have spit out their coffee this morning reading this.

“What!?! Larranaga was available? And we’re stuck with Mike Gottfried? Wait, hold on. That can’t be right. Is that a typo? Seriously, the room is spinning right now. Miami? Is the NCAA investigating this? If I get fired because of this I will NOT be happy.”

Things just got a little more interesting in the ACC for the next few years. Many people–myself included–assumed that Miami was doomed for a desperation hire after leaving the position vacant for this long. Well, if that was the case, this is just about the best desperation hire I’ve seen in quite some time.

Quick reactions from fellow ACC competitors: here, here, and here.

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