The Jim Larranaga press conference was held today as the former George Mason head coach took to the podium at 7 p.m. to accept his new position at the University of Miami as well as take questions from the assembled media.
"Jim is a man of great character who will be a first class ambassador for the University of Miami, this athletic department and the basketball program," Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst said while introducing Larranaga at Friday's press conference and allowing the coach of George Mason for the past 14 years to head up to the stage.
"I'm very excited to be here," Larranaga began with a smile. "There's no question about that."
"I would like to begin by telling you that the last 14 years of my life have been wonderful. GMU is a great institution," Larranaga said. "The players I leave behind at George Mason are an incredible group of young men. When I told those players I was going to become the head of the U, everyone hugged me and wished me well and I would do the same for them."
During his opening remarks, Larranaga also mentioned that Florida is a hotbed for talented basketball players, noting that two of the five George Mason starters this season -- Cam Long and Mike Morrison -- came from Florida.
Though Larranaga looked back at his days with George Mason to begin the press conference, he also looked forward to his days with the Hurricanes.
"This opportunity is very important for me. I have a set of beliefs that is best described with a quote from Confucius: Choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life," Larranaga said. "That's what I did! I came to Miami because it's a great opportunity. It's our opportunity now to get behind the program and do something very special."
Most surprisingly was the amount of talent Larranaga believes Miami has after the team went 21-15 last season while finishing their with a loss in the third round of the NIT Tournament.
"I'm leaving behind a preseason Top 25 team," Larranaga said. "But I wouldn't have left if I didn't feel we had that caliber of talent already at the U."
While taking questions from the media, Larranaga was asked why now? Why after 14 years at George Mason would a 61-year-old head coach take the Hurricanes job after leading the Patriots to quite a few respectable seasons.
In Larranaga's trademark style, he said "I'm crazy. I love a challenge. I love great opportunties and I love to be around great leaders."