Jim Larranaga apparently couldn't resist the big time. Larranaga left George Mason after 14 years for the bright lights and sandy beaches of Miami. Larranaga was paid a base salary of $525,000 to coach the Patriots. Not bad for a mid-major school. But the Patriots just couldn't match the resources of Miami, which will reportedly pay him double.
Larranaga led George Mason to the NCAA Tournament five times in his 14 years. The Patriots set the college basketball world on fire when they advanced to the Final Four in 1996.
It's been a crazy few weeks as several coaches moved on to new challenges. King Rice took over at Monmouth a couple of weeks ago, Lon Kruger (UNLV to Oklahoma), Ed Cooley (Fairfield to Providence), Pat Knight (Texas Tech to Lamar) and Rod Barnes left Georgia State to coach Cal State Bakersfield.
Some coaches turned down "bigger" jobs to remain in their current situations. Harvard's Tommy Amaker turned down the Miami job, while Shaka Smart spurned N.C. State to stay at VCU.
So who takes over at George Mason? It's not exactly like taking over North Carolina, but Larranaga has turned the program into a viable option for great prep ball players. Could we see another set of dominoes falling? Possibly. You won't see a coach from a BCS school leave for George Mason, but a young coach at a mid-major may make the jump.
We're still waiting on Jim Calhoun, who said during the Final Four he would take some time off before making a decision on his future. If Calhoun leaves and UConn looks outside of his staff for a successor, we could see another wave of movement.
The following is a list of jobs that came opened. The successors are bolded and in parentheses.
Alabama A&M – Vann Pettaway
Alcorn State – Larry Smith (Luther Riley)
Arkansas – John Pelphrey (Mike Anderson)
Bradley – Jim Les (Geno Ford)
Cal State Bakersfield – Keith Brown (Rod Barnes)
Colgate – Emmett Davis
Dayton – Brian Gregory (Archie Miller)
Eastern Michigan – Charles Ramsey (Rob Murphy)
Eastern Washington – Kirk Earlywine (Jim Hayford)
Fairfield – Ed Cooley (Sydney Johnson)
Florida A&M – Eugene Harris
Florida Golf Coast – Dave Balza (Andy Enfield)
Fresno State – Steve Cleveland (Rodney Terry)
George Mason - Jim Larranaga
Georgia State – Rod Barnes (Ron Hunter)
Georgia Tech – Paul Hewitt (Brian Gregory)
Kennesaw State – Tony Ingle (Lewis Preston)
Lamar – Steve Roccaforte (Pat Knight)
Louisiana Tech – Kerry Rupp (Michael White)
Loyola (Chicago) – Jim Whitesell (Porter Moser)
Manhattan – Barry Rohrssen (Steve Masiello)
Miami - Frank Haith (Jim Larranaga)
Monmouth – Dave Calloway (King Rice)
North Carolina State – Sidney Lowe (Mark Gottfried)
North Illinois – Ricardo Patton (Mark Montgomery)
Oklahoma – Jeff Capel (Lon Kruger)
Pepperdine – Tom Asbury (Marty Wilson)
Providence – Keno Davis (Ed Cooley)
Tennessee – Bruce Pearl (Cuonzo Martin)
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – Perry Clark (Willis Wilson)
Texas Tech – Pat Knight (Billy Gillispie)
Towson – Pat Kennedy (Pat Skerry)
UC Davis – Gary Stewart
UNLV – Lon Kruger (Dave Rice)
Utah – Jim Boylen (Larry Krystowiak)
Wyoming – Heath Schroyer (Larry Shyatt)