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Update on the assistant coaches

George Mason Basketball: Update on the assistant coaches

Friday, April 22, 2011

Update on the assistant coaches

Photo by John Powell
While the search begins for next head coach in Fairfax I've learned that the George Mason assistant coaches all have interviewed for other coaching jobs.  

-Chris Caputo interviewed for assistant coach jobs with Kentucky and Florida

-Mike Huger interviewed with Villanova

-Eric Konkol interviewed at a Division III school

All three coaches were asked by Jim Larranaga to join him in Miami. It doesn't seem like any are being considered for a promotion to head coach at George Mason.

Also regarding the 2011 incoming freshmen it seems that both Corey Edwards and Vaughn Gray are undecided about if they will still be coming to George Mason.  They both are waiting to see who the new head coach is before making a final decision.

[Source: Steven Goff]



Anonymous Sigmanorm said...

Do you think TOC will consider any of them for head coach? I really dont think he will, but think he should atleast interview them.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous BeerChild said...

What happened to make things fall apart this bad? This is going to hurt the current players and damage the whole program.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous LawMom3 said...

Sounds like the AD just made Larranaga and company feel very unwelcome. I'm sorry, I might be wrong, but this has all the earmarks of a p***ing contest.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

Tom O'Conner probably did everything in his power. He just didn't have the same money that Miami did. It really just comes down to that. Also, the fact Merten is leaving probably plays a role in this in some way. I feel bad, but under Larranaga Mason turned from "the school that used to be a branch of UVA" to GEORGE MASON.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Mason guy said...

I hope O'connor won't take too much of a beating. He's a former coach, and we don't know the details of what happened. The Laranaga era was bound to end sometime, perhaps the coach just thought it was now or never. Best of luck to him.

I don't know who will get hired, but Mason basketball survived exits by Joe Harrington, Rick Barnes, Enire Nestor, Paul Westhead, and maybe someone I'm forgetting. It would be a great job for some bright young coach. Its kind of exciting to me, really.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Vagthree said...

It would be a big mistake if GMU loose those 2 young incoming freshmen...Vaughn Gray and Cory Edwards. Two young GUNS that could have impact from day 1....Don't F*** it up GMU

1:57 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

This happens to any school that has a coaching chance. Can you blame the kids for not having the coach they committed to?

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Still reeling from the surprise of it all. It was funny to read so many similar sentiments yesterday. Of course I wish Coach L well and expected this maybe a few years ago but it still is sort of hard to say because this was so out of left field. Like any other job in life you have to take your opportunities. I do feel for the players and I hope incoming and vets will play at Mason next year. There are a lot of great talented pieces there! Some one made a comment about giving us a home and home, I had thought that too and then thought how weird it would be to hear that whistle coming from the visitors bench! At any rate I think will have the seniors in tact for next year and they deserve a great season and ALL the other players have great value, it will be a test of character to respond to this kind of change but the kind of test that ripples out to a lot of other advesity in life. I hope they step up to it and do so with the support of the Mason community.


10:12 AM  
Anonymous ChemistCorner1 said...

This is exactly what it sounds like - and Mason Nation would make the trade to keep Coach and boot O'Connor any day of the week and twice on Sunday. If he does not get this hire right - not sure he makes it too long

10:18 AM  
Anonymous shame, shame said...

His name should be on the court? Coach L is a coach and he bleeds green (money) not green and gold. He begged for money for mason and now he will beg for money from the Miami alum. He did this, not in the name of loyalty, but in the name of capitalism. I had hoped one day that the Patriot center would be named after him and that a huge statue of him would be right outside the Patriot center for his childrens children to see. Statues are built for great men in honor of greatness. Coach L made a decision that almost all coaches would have made. The thing is, Great men are rare... his decision was not. Take the money and run coach L but look back, because you'll see... you just bought yourself a ticket to human status and now like all humans you will die mortal instead of forever remembered as a god at Mason. good luck.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous David Houck said...

Let's be honest, they would hardly see the floor and you know it. Way too much depth already in place. Would hate to lose them, but they wouldn't have a major impact this season

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Ptrzem said...

I'm really hoping for Mike Rhoades. I'm from Richmond and I've seen his success first hand at Randolph-Macon And VCU. I think he'd really be successful at Mason. I'm an incoming freshman so losing Coach L was not what I wanted to see, but hiring Coach Rhoades would be pretty exciting for me.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

I'm surprised how many of you believe that it starts with the players. Program loses good coaches & assistant coaches = Program loses competiveness = Program's credibility unwinds = good players don't want to play for scrub program = lose good players = scrub players and scrub coaches = crappy season. I'm not saying that this is going to happen overnight, I'm just saying it's more about the attitudes of the AD & the Univ. towards the athletic program (which let's face it is the bball team) and how that culture will fuel the program's success or failure. The good players are just a symptom of a good program and a good culture.

A lot of people are missing the boat on this one, VCU has just set a new president with Smart's salary and just because we're George Mason, the first mid-major that went to the Final Four, doesn't mean we can't get steam rolled within the conference we used to dominate a few years down the road if our University doesn't show the same dedication to our sports program as the team which is NOW paying over 2x as much to it's head coach. VCU's move changes the game in our conference. If ODU joins that party next and Mason keeps pinching it's pennies, maybe we will be getting whipped 5 years down the stretch.

I'd love to think that the 'team' will pull through with coaches who are not worth the big $ and players whose hearts aren't in it...but I'm a bball fan, not a cheerleader.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

Ok King Leonidus so if I offer to quadruple your salary at TGI Fridays from $7 to $28 an hour you aren't going to take it?...haha

2:21 PM  
Anonymous old fan said...

I would call the years between Rick Barnes and Coach L more as existing than surviving.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous emjay613 said...

I can't fault anyone for taking the money because WE ALL would do the same. And lets face it this is an awesome retirement plan. If the let him go in 3 years he's 4-6 million dollars richer and that make putting your feet up a lot easier.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous College Hoops fanatic said...

Really hope the AD looks at that coach from LIU, Jim Ferry;. He took a program from total ineptitude and built it into a small conference powerhouse. His team put up 87 against UNC in the tourney. He is a proven leader. This coach makes perfect sense for GMU

2:47 PM  
Anonymous College Hoops fanatic said...

New York guy will be able to hold onto the recruits as well!!!

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Mason guy said...

Yeah true, but its a done deal now. I'm not going to assign blame without knowing the details, maybe O'Connor had constraints...he basically said as much when he said Mason couldnt match Miami in a bidding war. Some young new guy might do just as well. Better to move forward and not create some mini NC State rabid fan type atmosphere that makes it untenable for a new coach

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Mason guy said...

This was meant to reply to some of the comments above, I hit the wrong button.

Bottom line, unless you want to start passing out Hummers and paying big bucks (and GMU doesnt have that kind of money anyway) you are going to have to look for a young hungry innovator. Isn't that what Mason is all about anyway?

5:01 PM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

Bro, VCU ponied up the money for Smart and they have some academic buildings that make NVCC look like the four seasons and 5 dozen crack-bums in the center of their campus. It's not about a bidding war with U Miami, that's O'Connor's BS flavored cool-aid, and you're sounding pretty thirsty.

Also you can't compare Mason YET with ANY ACC school, that is not a reality. The reality is that we are well on our way, except with Larranage it was almost a sure thing, now it's a crap shoot. And don't tell me Mason can't afford it. Next time you drive on campus open your eyes and count all the new massive construction and remodeling projects that are either on-going or have gone down in the past two years, take a look at this link:

In reality, across it's campuses Mason has spent close to half a billion dollars on new construction in the past few years and will probably spend the same again by 2015. And the GMU admin. has the audacity to deny the Coach who had such a big hand in all this growth a practice facility? For two years? Which Barnes & Noble contributed over half a mil towards? (where's that $$ gone...?) And to top it off when the sh** hits the fan and things get hectic Mason can't pony up and compete with VCU? That's lame, no matter how you want to slice it. I mean good god spend a few hundred thousand and get one of those blow up athletic domes to make the guy (Coach L) happy. That'd be good business (well at least a compromise). I'll say it again, blowing smoke up this man's kuzoo for a few years and nickle/diming him every chance you get is bad business, and that's why he's gone.

Maybe you want some young hungry innovators but I want a coming of age power school that I can call my alma mater, not the low man on the VA/DC totem poll. There are two ways to do that: 1. academic excellence (Ivy Leagues, so forget that) and 2. Athletics. The bball squad is the only reason I have respect for this school, the bball team's the only reason my dad who's a CFO at an investment bank and a NYU MBA even knows what Mason is, the bball team's the reason the CEO who interviewed me last week was impressed to talk about the win over NOVA which led to my offer. You know how important this bball program is to this school so you should know how important its coaching staff is.

The fact that Coach L caught ANY static should drive you up the wall if you're a true fan. He is a complete class act and it can only go so long before the lack of respect for him caught up to his love for this school and the bball program. This isn't something you should just be able to dust off your shoulder. And you're hoping and expecting someone's going to waltz in here and continue to do what he has done. Wake up.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous shame, shame said...

His decision was quite ordinary; you are right. How does this differ with my comment?

10:03 PM  
Anonymous shame, shame said...

You're right. His decision was a buisiness decision. The numbers make sense. The consequences however are real, his mortality, his legend.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Mason guy said...

Fine go hire Calipari or Pitino, it still won't change Mason into a basketball power overnight. The assumption you make is that big bucks equal more wins. It aint necesarily so. We play in the CAA, which could very easily revert to a one bid leauge. If Shaka goes 4th in the league next year then how does it look? And btw, I defended Jimmy L when people were jumping on him, but he's gone, C'est la vie. If you want overpaid underacheivers, go watch the wizards. Anyway, you guys are good fans, we all want the same, good hoops, so cheers!

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

It really feels imperative that we do well next year, whoever the coach may be. Otherwise, GMU will be viewed (by recruits) as the team who lost their coach, and as Batmason suggested, the downward spiral will begin. But if we win, the fire stays alive, the recruitment doesn't take such a bad hit (if at all), and we keep our spot in the top 3 of the CAA. So, come on players, stay with the program. We have such a good thing going, player-wise, and maybe this big change actually results in greater cohesiveness and resolve on the team. As for the university and the athletic program, I hope they learn their lesson very quickly and resolve not to try to get a new coach on the cheap. That would look bad, it would discourage the players and the fans, and it could make things unravel very quickly. This is a critical year for us.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Y88 said...

Mason Nation, Fire Tom O'Connor, and use the money to get Coach L back !

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Vagthree said...

I believe this could be GMU best season(2011-2012) ever. With the current players and incoming freshmen Cory Edwards and Vaughn Gray....we(GM fans) can't look back and we must move forward. Let's just pray that we get a coach who will lead our team to what could be a special season(2011-2012). Have faith GM fans we are not dead yet....nothing less than the sweet 16 next season because we have the team to do it....Go MASON

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Vagthree said...

You don't have any strong ball handlers...period. These KIDS have played high level AAU and High School b-ball all over the country and rest assure they can hold their own against anyone in the CAA. You have guards that are not good ball handlers under pressure(just watch the last game against OSU/Luke was ill and didn't play but he dribbles with his head down). Sherrod hands down is the best guard but was injured(shoulder). Edwards: 5'10" true point guard/hard as nails......Vaughn Gray: 6'5" - 200lbs combo guard(n a half court set can get by anyone off the dribble on this team with easy/big time first step) just a year ago they were being pursued by some of biggest conferences in the Country(stock could have drop during last summer AAU). Rest assure these boys if given a chance to compete will be playing BIG minutes. Coach L is a OLD school coach and don't favor playing freshmen but if the NEW coach can assess talent and give these freshman a fair chance to compete they will be playing BIG minutes....don't get stuck on this freshmen stuff because these two freshmen are STUDS. Everyone in the New York/Jersey area that knows something about b-ball is still wondering how the hell they slipped into the CAA...maybe faith but rest assure these two freshmen can wreck the CAA from day 1. These 2 freshman get little playing time...get a clue Dawg. Cory and Vaughn....if they do attend GMU can compete on very high level....just hope the next GM coach is smart enough to let the best players in practice be rewarded. Please don't think these freshmen can't come to GM and take someone spot....just give them a fair chance...that's all a FAIR chance.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Scottranda said...

I am now going to root for the old coach at the U, NOT LOL. Agree 100 percent! This will be there most talented team to date 2011/2012. Will be watching closely who is hired as the next coach with some luck this will be the next step up in the evolution of GMU program!

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

So what's the latest? What coach is the favorite right now to get the gig? Bill Courtney looks like he's top notch. Amaker wouldn't be bad. Vermont guy? What has ANYBODY heard!?! I'm going nuts here!

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Coachmac08 said...

Amaker would not be a good hire. He did not apply for the GMU job the last two times it was open. I think Mike Lonergan from Vermont is the perfect fit. I'm not sure how up-to-date this info is, but according to this tale of the tape (, Lonergan has only 90 fewer wins than Larranaga, and he's 17 years younger. He has a better winning percentage and he's got local ties as a former assistant to Gary Williams. Bill Courtney and Mike Gillian would be nice, but second fiddles.

Sadly, I haven't heard anything either. I hope Lonergan is interested.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

According to Mike Wise in the Post, Shaka Smart is getting $1.2 million/year. We, at George Mason, couldn't afford to do the same with our coach? The coach that put our school on the national map? The coach that brought in millions of revenue? The coach that is the reason there are new dorms all over campus? VCU doesn't have football money. They are a "mid-major", too. They don't have anything we don't. How did they manage $1.2 million for Shaka Smart? I wasn't an econ major at GMU, but something just doesn't add up.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

It's just interesting to hear mortality brought into the discussion. I don't think it's just a money thing, it's probably part money, part his familial life-cycle situation and part the clash w/ management situation.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

I agree it doesn't add up, the moderator of this blog posts awesome info, if you click on his links you can really get to the heart of the facts. From a strategical POV it wasn't a good move for the AD to publicly claim it was the $ when it's obvious that we could (if someone thought it was necessary to do so) pony up the cash. I think a large part of it was management, or why wouldn't have Coach L left when his alma mater came knocking w/ a bigger paycheck? The dude loves Mason. But, how long can you work at a place, even if you love it, if you hate the management? It sounds like some old fashioned rooster strutting aroung the feed lot if you ask me, and maybe the AD and other members of GMU management just weren't willing to face the fact that between the amount of money they would have to pay for L and the facilities he wanted he would be garnering 4-5x as much p/year as the highest paid person on campus (of course this is just my insight). Unfortunately in business, most often times it is not the innovator who has prolonged success, it is the imitator. It sucks, but it's typically true. It has to do with an inherent human psychological belief that because you're the 'first to market' (just like Mason was the first mid-maj to crack the tourney open) that you're always going to have that advantage because...well just because you're first... like finders keepers. Well all too often in reality it isn't that way and someone/some firm/some bball program comes up right behind you, tweaks your system, takes it a few steps further and you're out on you a** wondering where your innovation went that was always going to be yours because that's what's fair. Basically Mason management just pulled a very common and predictable move because they think we 'have arrived'...I think we are (were) still arriving. But, as much as I hate to admit it, it was an extremely clutch and high pressure decision for Mason to make in a matter of days (to introduce Coach L w/ a new contract that would rival Smart's). And it's just my hunch that we didn't have business or historical strategists in that AD's office the day this decision had to be made and they probably weren't thinking strategically about this school 20 years from now. There were probably a few roosters in that office, and this was probably just the tip of an iceberg or similar behavior. As much as I hate to indulge @shame, shame's above comments, common is the typical majority, and that's probably what we have here, a common managerial support of the program, when what we need's an exemplary one. This is the root of this and future problems for this program, like the caller from Mason who called 106.7 the other day and compared Mason management to Redskin's management (ok I'm heated but maybe that takes it too far..haha) But, Mason should fix this. Fast.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous ByGeorge06 said...

Mason and that AD purposely down-played Larranaga 's departure and made it look like a business decision that is all about money, the way I look at it - money is the last thing that influenced coach's decision. It's about support, it's about respect and it's about pride! it took Larranaga 10 plus years to elevate this program to where it is today but it took young Shaka two lucky years to accomplish the same. And the result - Shaka got an nearly 1 mil bump in base salary and Larranaga felt disrespected because he is not nearly getting the same support from the shcool. The least Mason could do is act like it's the top program in the CAA and match the pay Shaka is getting if not more. I would never work in the same environment with a newbie co-worker who gets paid twice more for something that he just accomplished and I happened to have accomplished the same five years ago.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous c hirsch said...

10 people liked this comment? Eek.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

Excellent point George. I never thought of it like that.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Mike O said...

Yeah, people are disappointed with how this all went down, including Coach L's part in it. It's an understandable decision but disappointing nonetheless. Flowery language aside, I also liked his comment.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Truth be Told said...

I just hope he gives everyone a chance, and not just his friend's nephew. They have players there now that dominiated in practice that didn't see much playing time. It's the speed of the game that all new players have to adjust to.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Truth be told said...

I am not surprised by Coach L decision, he always showed that he's concern was Only for his self. He wasn't a man of his WORD, which is all a Man has.

1:27 PM  

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