George Mason will replace one Final Four coach with another.
Former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has verbally accepted the Patriots job, replacing Jim Larranaga, who left for Miami last week, according to a report by FOXSports.com’s Jeff Goodman.
The school made the move official later Saturday and plans an introductory press conference on Monday.
He’ll sign a five-year deal worth close to $1 million a season when every bonus is met, according to Andy Katz.
“We were in a market for a basketball coach and we wanted to make sure our compensation was in line,” Mason athletic director Tom O’Connor told Katz.
Hewitt, 190-162 in 11 seasons with the Yellow Jackets, led them to the 2004 Final Four and five NCAA tournament appearances. He also coached and recruited five first-round NBA draft picks, including Chris Bosh and Derrick Favors.
But he struggled recently at Georgia Tech recently despite the talent and was fired last month. That should be a small concern for a school that’s relied on finding under-the-radar or less coveted prospects and developing them into better players, but it’ll be interesting to see how Hewitt handles that.
He did well during his three seasons at Siena, going 49-15 in his final two seasons and winning regular-season conference titles both years. Hewitt can coach and recruit. Maybe a move out of the ACC will be what he needs.
It also won’t be an issue next season. The Patriots won 27 games and the regular-season CAA title last season and return nearly every players except for leading scorer Cam Long. They’re already a Top 25 contender. Hewitt’s a good fit for that.
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