Also here is a little piece of that Mike Wise article about Coach L’s departure that the SB Nation highlighted and I think everyone should read:
“Mason could’ve done more.
Did you know VCU is spreading $150,000 among Smart’s three assistant coaches, who already make about $300,000 between them, because they understand what it takes to keep their young, hot coach to stay in Richmond?”
Sure money wasn’t the only reason Larranaga left. He always wanted to coach in the ACC, has siblings in Florida, a house there already, and you can’t blame his wife for wanting to spend their later years away from those Northern Virginia winters.
Now we look to who will be the next head coach at George Mason. Unlike in 1997 when Larranaga was inheriting a basement CAA team, a new coach here would take on a team that could be receiving some Top 25 votes in the early weeks. The position seems pretty open and really anyone could be a candidate at this point. I’ve already speculated Bill Courtney but remember he’s only been at Cornell as a head coach for one season. He might want to see what he can do there before taking on something else and at this point I’m not even sure if the school has contacted him. The Washington Examiner posted this Top 5 list over the weekend:
5. Jim Baron » The last basketball coach O’Connor hired before Larranaga was Baron in 1992, when O’Connor was the AD at St. Bonaventure. Baron has six 20-win seasons in 10 years at Rhode Island but no NCAA appearances. At 57, is he too old and too settled?
4. Jim Ferry » The 43-year-old took run-and-gun Long Island to the NCAA tournament with two local standouts — Springbrook grads C.J. Garner and Jamal Olasewere. But does O’Connor have bad memories of uptempo basketball after inheriting Paul Westhead when he took over at George Mason in 1994?
3. Mike Rhoades » If Shaka Smart had left VCU, the Rams would have been comfortable promoting his 36-year-old assistant, who posted a 197-76 mark in 10 seasons at Randolph-Macon.
2. Bill Courtney » The 40-year-old former player at Robert E. Lee High and current coach at Cornell served eight seasons under Larranaga, recruiting many of the players from the Patriots’ 2006 Final Four team. Big question: Does O’Connor want a Larranaga disciple?
1. Mike Lonergan » In six seasons, the 45-year-old has taken Vermont to the NCAA once, CBI once and NIT twice. Lonergan has plenty of local ties, playing at Archbishop Carroll, playing and coaching at Catholic and working as an assistant at Maryland. George Mason is a logical next step.
Mike Lonergan seems like the most logical choice at this point because of this area ties and track record. Apparently a radio station in the Vermont area says he’s a finalist for the George Mason job. However the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan said this morning that Lonergan has yet to be contacted by George Mason. Perhaps this could be happening this week. One name not on that list is American head coach Jeff Jones who also played and coached at UVA. He’s really brought up the program at American and has experience talking teams to the NCAA tournament.
We could very well be hearing some new names this week because at this point it’s all speculation by fans and the the media.