Larranaga expects to return to Miami in ’23-24
HOUSTON — In his 37th season as a head coach and at his second career Final Four, 73-year-old Miami coach Jim Larranaga told ESPN on Thursday that he fully expects to return to the school next season.
He added that he hopes his tenure at Miami will be “a lot longer” after leading the Hurricanes to the school’s first-ever Final Four.
“I have no intentions of doing that,” he said when asked by ESPN if he had considered riding this run into retirement. Larranaga led George Mason to that school’s first-ever Final Four back in 2006, and 17 years later, he has brought Miami to the same pinnacle. The No. 5 seed Hurricanes play No. 4 seed UConn on Saturday, with the winner looming as the likely favorite to win the national title Monday night.
How long could Larranaga go?
“I have no idea,” he told ESPN. “I take it one year at a time. How I’m feeling and what I expect of myself is to represent the university and the basketball program in a first-class manner. When it comes to the point where I haven’t been able to recruit successfully or my health is bad or I have other obligations that require my attention, hopefully I’ll know that and gracefully bow out.”
Larranaga has the full support of the Miami administration, as athletic director Dan Radakovich told ESPN that Larranaga has been “a delight” to work with and is a “professional in every sense of the word.”
Radakovich said in a phone interview Thursday that he has had some surface conversations with Larranaga on the topic.
“As long as he’s feeling good about coaching and coaching at a high level, he’d like to continue, and we’d like to have him continue to be the coach at the University of Miami,” Radakovich said.
Larranaga has brought Miami to unprecedented heights for the second straight year. Last season, Miami reached the school’s first-ever Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion Kansas. He said these back-to-back historic seasons have factored into his decision-making.
“I’m enjoying the guys on my team, we have great personalities and we’re getting better,” Larranaga said. “Last year we got to the Elite Eight, this year we get to the Final Four.”
In the first round of news conferences at NRG Stadium at the Final Four on Thursday, there was some reluctance by Miami’s players to discuss name, image and likeness deals. But the reality of NIL is that it has given the Hurricanes a distinct and perfectly legal competitive advantage that has helped the program in taking this step.
Larranaga has long used transfers as an asset. And the ability, for example, to lure Nijel Pack from Kansas State with an NIL deal announced as $800,000 for two years has benefited this team. Pack has averaged 13.8 points per game.
Larranaga said there hasn’t been “a single day of negativity” in the program tied to NIL.
“I think the university made a decision over a year ago to provide the resources and support for all of our athletic teams,” he said. “The president announced in an email that [university administrators] Rudy Fernandez and Joe Echevarria would take on more of a role when it came to athletics.
“And that role has turned out to be hugely successful because those guys have provided the resources for me … and our other athletic teams. I think the transfer portal has had a far greater impact, because I don’t think any of us would be here without the transfers. And what those guys are looking for is just a better landing spot.”
Larranaga has seen ACC peers like Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim all retire in recent years. He has no immediate plans to join them.
“I might be 73 years old, but I think age is just a number,” he said. “I just love doing what I’m doing. I love coaching basketball. I’ve done it for 51 years. And I hope to do it a lot longer.”
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