Providence Speaks To Mason's Larranaga

Coach Jim Larranaga, a 1971 graduate of Providence, has a 230-142 record in 12 seasons at George Mason, which he led to the Final Four two seasons ago.
Coach Jim Larranaga, a 1971 graduate of Providence, has a 230-142 record in 12 seasons at George Mason, which he led to the Final Four two seasons ago. (By Doug Pensinger -- Getty Images)
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

George Mason Athletic Director Tom O'Connor said yesterday that the school had granted Providence permission to speak with men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga about its vacancy and that the two sides have met.

Larranaga, who just completed his 12th season at George Mason, is a 1971 graduate of Providence and has been the subject of speculation since the Friars fired Tim Welsh at the conclusion of the season.

FoxSports.com reported last night that Providence had offered Larranaga the job, but O'Connor did not confirm that account, saying only that Larranaga has kept him informed of his talks with Providence and that his dealings with Larranaga were "personal conversations."

Larranaga did not answer phone calls seeking comment last night. George Mason's career leader in coaching victories with a 230-142 record, he gained national attention two years ago when he guided the Patriots to a surprising run to the Final Four. George Mason qualified for the NCAA tournament again this season and lost in the first round to Notre Dame, ending a 23-11 season.

When asked about the Providence opening 10 days ago, Larranaga did not answer the question directly.

"Right now, as I've told every sportswriter for the last I don't know how many years, I really don't deal in hypotheticals," Larranaga said then in a telephone interview. "It just doesn't make any sense to kind of speculate, because I'm so totally focused on recruiting right now. We have one more scholarship, and I'm so totally focused in trying to find a final piece of the puzzle."

After the Patriots' Final Four run, Larranaga declined an opportunity to interview for the opening at Seton Hall. When asked whether his alma mater's opening would warrant more serious consideration, Larranaga said: "My answer to that is I love George Mason. I love the people that I work with. I love the situation that I am in."

-- From Staff Reports


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