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Sports

March 19, 2013

Larranaga has Miami poised for NCAA run

(Continued)

Then Larranaga got a phone call, telling him that Martin would not be Miami’s guy and urging him to fly to Boston and meet with Miami’s hiring committee. Larranaga took the trip, believing Tommy Amaker would be the eventual Hurricanes coach. His interview lasted only an hour, cut short by the news that Miami had hired Shawn Eichorst as athletic director and that he would take over the lead role on the basketball search.

“I told my wife, I got a token interview,” Larranaga said.

Eichorst and Larranaga eventually spoke briefly. Eight days passed before they spoke again — when Eichorst offered the job.

“We’re not perfect, but he brings the best out of everybody,” Scott said. “He’s the one that did it. He came here and told everybody their role, everybody plays their role and everybody’s fine with it. When you’re winning, everybody’s happy.”

With all his success, Larranaga has never lost sight of who he is and where he’s from.

As a kid who spent 50 cents a day on the 10 Reese’s peanut butter cups that served as his lunch, Larranaga played for the legendary Jack Curran at Archbishop Malloy High in New York. Curran died last week, just days before Miami began play in the ACC tournament. Even with a trip to the NCAAs looming — accompanied by endless hours of preparation for an opponent he and his staff knew little about when the pairings were revealed — Larranaga will fly to New York on Tuesday for the services for his mentor, then quickly return home without even interrupting the Hurricanes’ practice schedule.

“He was like my best friend throughout my life,” Larranaga said. “Losing him on Wednesday was very sad for me. But I said to him, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to help my team win this ACC tournament in your honor.’ And he helped me stay calm throughout the weekend.”

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