Hello from the Dunkin' Donut Center in Providence, where the Hurricanes did some dunkin' and laughing at their opening practice for their NCAA Tournament opener Thursday against Buffalo (6:50 p.m. TNT)
Why were they laughing? Because a longtime Providence fan brought a Friars Legends trading card of Jim Larranaga, back in his playing days. He had a security guard take the card into the locker room for Coach L to sign it. An assistant coach intercepted it, showed it to the players, and they got a real kick out of it. This is what he looked like back then, when they used to call him "Larry.'' Check out the sideburns. And read this story I wrote back in 2013 about Larranaga's playing days with the Friars. Lots of memories around these parts for Coach L. (read more below the photo)
Larranaga was asked Wednesday about coming back to his old college stomping grounds.
"I graduated from Providence College in 1971, haven't been back here in a little while, but it's very, very nice to be back in Friartown,'' he said. "I saw one of my former teammates over at Alumni Hall where we played our games. We had a very nice practice over at Joe Malabey Court..the place looks great. I wish some of that stuff was in place when I was playing. In fact, I rally wish I had a chance to play in the Dunkin' Donuts arena."
He reminisced about his favorite restaurant from his college days -- the Newport Creamery. And his favorite milkshake there was the "AWfulAwful -- awful thick, awful good. I lived on those on college. Didn't have much money to go eat at a fancy restaurant."
Larranaga also talked about turning down his alma mater when they offered him the coaching job in 2008. He said it was a goal of his to coach at Providence, and he interviewed for the job in 1985, when they hired Rick Pitino. IN 2008, two years after Coach L led George Mason to the Final Four, Providence came calling again. "But I was going through some things personally that the timing was just not right,'' he said. "I was very, very torn. I came very, very close to accepting the position and would have been very, very excited to be a the head coach here. But eventually I had to make a decision based on family responsibilities to stay at George Mason."
-- Enjoy the Madness....Michelle Kaufman