Seton Hall to talk with Larranaga

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) – Seton Hall was granted permission Wednesday to talk to George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, who led the Patriots to an improbable berth in last weekend’s Final Four.

Seton Hall contacted Mason athletic director Tom O’Connor, who gave the Pirates the go-ahead to speak to Larranaga as they seek a replacement for Louis Orr.

Reached by telephone, Liz Larranaga said her husband was in New York for an unrelated event and was unsure whether any meetings with Seton Hall were scheduled.

Seton Hall officials did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

George Mason had never won an NCAA tournament game until Larranaga led the school to upsets over Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecticut in less than two weeks.

The Patriots’ charmed run ended Saturday when they lost to eventual champion Florida in the national semifinals.

Larranaga’s upbeat nature made him a media star, and he was expected to attract coaching offers from major schools. He said repeatedly he intended to stay at George Mason, but he didn’t rule out moving elsewhere.

Larranaga has been at George Mason for nine seasons and is under contract through 2008-09, although the school was expected to try to sign him to a contract extension. He is 166-105 with the Patriots, including 27-8 this season.

Orr was fired March 24, a little more than a week after the Pirates lost by 20 to Wichita State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Orr was 80-69 with the Pirates and 18-12 this season. He took Seton Hall to two NCAA tournaments and one NIT appearance over five seasons.

AP-ES-04-05-06 2057EDT

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