Basketball Coach Larranaga Signs Contract Extension

Posted: April 2, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Men’s basketball Head Coach Jim Larranaga has signed a two-year contract extension at George Mason and is signed through the 2008-09 season, Tom O’Connor, assistant vice president and director of athletics, announced.

“Jim has really done a terrific job bringing the program at George Mason to a level of prominence in the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association] and nationally,” said O’Connor. “The university has benefited not only from his basketball expertise and his success on the court, but from his dedication to the student-athlete and his reputation as a ‘player’s coach.’ He exemplifies what the university stands for, and we are fortunate to have Jim as the foundation of our basketball program for years to come.”

“I love George Mason University and have since the day I arrived,” said Larranaga. “The support given to me and my staff from the university’s administration and athletic department makes this an ideal situation and a wonderful place to work. I’m proud of what we have accomplished in my seven years, creating a program that exudes the green and gold pride, and look forward to new challenges ahead to continue to build on a solid basketball tradition.”

This past season, the Patriots (23-10) won a school-record 23 games, breaking the 1983-84 mark of 21 games, and won back-to-back postseason contests for the first time in school history, beating the University of Tennessee 58-55 and Austin Peay State University 66-60. Mason lost to the University of Oregon 68-54 in the Sweet 16 of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Patriots were a basket away from winning the CAA tournament and an automatic berth into the NCAA, losing to Virginia Commonwealth University 55-54.

Coach Larranaga, 54, is the winningest coach in Mason history, winning 59.4 percent of the games. In only his second season, Mason earned a NCAA bid in 1999, the team’s first in 10 years. Only two years later, the Patriots won the CAA tournament again and an automatic bid in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. George Mason lost in the first round of both those tournaments. The following season, the Patriots placed second in the CAA to earn a NIT bid, but lost in the first round.

The Patriots have had four postseason appearances in Coach Larranaga’s seven years as head coach. When he took over the program in 1997, the Patriots hadn’t had a winning season in seven years or a postseason appearance since 1989. He has compiled a 123-84 record at George Mason, including a 114-63 mark (72-30 in CAA games, best in the conference) over the past six.

Larranaga spent 11 years coaching at Bowling Green State University, from 1986 to 1997, and two years at American International College, from 1977 to 1979. In 20 years as a head coach, he has a career record of 321-253.

The Bronx, N.Y., native is a 1971 graduate of Providence College with a degree in economics. He was a four-year letterman for the Friars and graduated as the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,258 points. He was selected in the sixth round of the draft by the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association.

Larranaga and his wife, Liz, have two children. Jay, 28, plays professional basketball in Spain, and Jon, 23, who was a member of his father’s George Mason teams from 1999-00 to 2002-03, also plays professional basketball in Spain.

Write to at