Monday, May 2, 2011

Washington Post column: Jim Larranaga’s legacy is Paul Hewitt’s burden

Here is Sunday's column for the Washington Post -----------

After George Mason Athletic Director Tom O’Connor made the decision Friday to hire Paul Hewitt as his new basketball coach, he told his wife Barbara that the response he wanted when he told people was one word: “Wow.”
He got it. That said, once you get past the initial “wow,” there are some concerns. But many of them would come attached to anyone following Jim Larranaga at the school where he had become an icon.

On the one hand, Hewitt has a remarkable resume. He will be 48 on Wednesday (one year older than Larranaga when he arrived in 1997) and has won 255 games as a Division I head coach. He was only 40 when he took Georgia Tech to the national championship game seven years ago. What may have caught O’Connor’s eye at least as much, though, was his three-year record at Siena: 66-27.

Siena is not all that different from George Mason as a basketball school. It plays in a mid-major conference (the Metro Atlantic) that isn’t nearly as deep as the Colonial Athletic Association. Like the CAA, however, it has produced teams — Siena among them — that have gone to the NCAA tournament and produced early upsets.
O’Connor firmly believes that Mason is capable of continuing to play at the remarkable level Larranaga achieved. Clearly he believed Hewitt’s background at both the mid-major level and the ACC level, combined with his relative youth, was exactly what he was looking for.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Any blogs you can recommend as interesting reading? New content is appearing on this site just barely more frequently than your appearances on TK's show.

On the bright side, at least at this point in the calendar you aren't posting the college basketball poll contribution that you yourself call pointless.