Jim Larranaga discusses why he decided to leave the George Mason basketball program for Miami.
Longtime George Mason University basketball coach Jim Larranaga is leaving the Patriots program he turned into an area powerhouse to become the next men's coach at the University of Miami.
The news was first reported by CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish -- via an unnamed source -- that Larranaga had agreed in principle with the Hurricanes. George Mason Athletic Director Tom O'Connor told the Associated Press that Larranaga called Friday morning to say that he had accepted the job at Miami.
O'Connor told the AP that GMU wanted to keep Larranaga, but couldn't compete with the money offered by an ACC school. According to a USAToday.com report last month, Larranaga made about $715,000 total this year, not including bonuses. Meanwhile, check out the salaries of some of the ACC coaches who made the tourney, according to USAToday:
While Mason is left to deal with a huge loss, the Canes are more than happy to have Larranaga on board.
"Coach Larranaga is the real deal," University of Miami President Donna Shalala said in a release. "He's a winner, an inspirational leader, and he cares deeply about his players and staff. We're delighted to welcome him and his wife as the newest members of the Miami Hurricane family."
Larranaga will be officially introduced in Miami during a press conference at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
George Mason spokeswoman Maureen Nasser told the Associated Press earlier in the day that the school gave Miami permission to interview Larranaga, who was under contract with GMU through 2016.
Larranaga has coached GMU for 14 seasons, including the team's miraculous trip to the 2006 Final Four. He is all-time leader in wins at Mason and in the CAA.
The Canes have been without a head coach since Frank Haith left the team a few weeks ago for Missouri.
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