George Mason University has plans to make Boston Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga one of its focuses in its search for a new head coach, sources told Yahoo Sports.
George Mason officials on Monday fired coach Paul Hewitt, who went 20-42 in his final two seasons for the Atlantic 10 program.
Jay Larranaga, Boston’s top assistant coach, is the son of University of Miami coach Jim Larranaga, who elevated George Mason to national prominence with 13 consecutive winning seasons and an improbable run to the Final Four in 2006.
Jay Larranaga, 39, has stamped himself as one of the bright young assistant coaches in the NBA and is considered a potential future head coach. It is immediately unclear what – if any – interest he would have in leaving the NBA for college basketball, but he does have strong ties to the university.
Part of George Mason’s intrigue surrounding the Celtics assistant coach centers upon the potential of a next-generation Larranaga recharging a dormant fanbase and recruiting in the schoool’s Northern Virginia-Metropolitan Washington D.C. area. George Mason moved to the more competitive Atlantic 10 Conference out of the Colonial Athletic Association in 2012.
Before joining the Celtics as an assistant under Doc Rivers and later Brad Stevens, Jay Larranaga reached the NBA Development League playoffs in both of his seasons as head coach of the Erie BayHawks, compiling a 60-40 record. The Philadelphia 76ers interviewed Larranaga twice for their head coaching job in 2013 before hiring Brett Brown. Celtics GM Danny Ainge interviewed Larranaga for the Celtics head coaching job before luring Stevens from Butler University.
Larranaga has also been an assistant coach under Mike Fratello on the Ukraine National team in recent summers.
George Mason expects to mostly consider candidates with head coaching pedigree, sources told Yahoo Sports, but one exception is likely to be Chris Caputo, a University of Miami assistant coach. Caputo has been one of the architects of George Mason’s and Miami’s successes over the past decade and has strong recruiting ties in the talent-rich Metropolitan D.C. and Baltimore regions.
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