ITHACA, N.Y. -- First-year head men's basketball coach Bill Courtney has started filling out his first coaching staff at Cornell with the hiring of Marlon Sears and Jay Larranaga. The duo brings deep and varied experiences to the sidelines for the upcoming 2010-11 season.
"I believe Marlon Sears is not only one of the top assistants in the Ivy League, but also in the country," Courtney said. "I feel very fortunate to have him as part of our staff and I know that he will be a tremendous asset to the Cornell Basketball family. Jay, meanwhile, is a tremendous teacher and mentor. He has an incredible knowledge of the game and the ability to help develop student-athletes on and off the floor. His personality and enthusiasm will be something our players will cherish. I am extremely excited to have him on our staff."
Sears has nine years of Division I assistant coaching experience at Binghamton, Wagner, High Point and most recently, fellow Ivy League school Columbia. While with the Lions (2009-10), Sears served as the team's recruiting coordinator and worked primarily with the post players along with scouting and practice planning under head coach Joe Jones.
Prior to his time on Morningside Heights, Sears spent a year and a half at High Point, signing up a pair of top 100 recruiting classes according to HoopScoop.
Sears was an assistant coach for the previous two years at Wagner where he helped lead the Seahawks to a 23-8 record in 2007-08 (15-3 Northeast Conference). He helped to assemble two recruiting classes that were ranked within the top 100 by HoopScoop.
Sears got his start in the coaching ranks at Binghamton, where he spent five years as an assistant coach, helping lead the Bearcats into the upper echelon of the America East Conference. During his tenure at Binghamton, he coached two America East Defensive Players of the Year and helped lead the team to a 18-11 overall record and a 12-4 conference mark in 2005-06, his final season. While at Binghamton, Sears oversaw regional recruiting efforts in addition to administrating player academics, mentoring and player development.
A collegiate standout, Sears was named NAIA second-team All-America following his senior year at Newman University in Wichita, Kan. During his final college campaign, Sears averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists per game. He graduated in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. He began his collegiate career by spending two years at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kan. In his second season at Seward, he helped lead the squad to a 35-3 record and a third-place finish in the NJCAA Tournament. Sears spent his junior year at Western Illinois University, where he was a starter for the Leathernecks. Following graduation, Sears played three professional seasons overseas competing one season in the Spain LEB 1 League before prospering two more seasons in the Pro B League in France.
For Larranaga, it will be his first collegiate coaching stop after serving as the head coach of the Irish Senior National basketball team after a long playing career overseas. Larranaga took over the national coaching position as a player/coach in 2008 after an 11-year career playing overseas in Italy, Greece, France and Spain. As a player for the Irish team, Larranaga made more than 40 appearances and served as captain for five years. In 2002, he was named the Irish men's international player of the year.
Back in the United States, Larranaga spent time at the Cleveland Cavalier's 2008 mini-camp with other top college assistants, including Syracuse's Mike Hopkins, teaching and evaluating prospective free agents.
During his career overseas, Larranaga helped teams to the Spanish National championship (2005 with FC Real Madrid Baloncesto) and the Italian National Cup (2006 with SS Basket Napoli). He also earned a berth on the Irish national team, making more than 40 appearances with that squad and serving as its captain. In 2002 he was named the Irish men's international player of the year.
An honorable mention All-Mid American Conference pick as a senior at Bowling Green under his father, Jim, and a young assistant coach, current Big Red mentor Bill Courtney. Larranaga combined with longtime NBA player Antonio Daniels to help the Falcons to a 22-10 mark and an NIT appearance. Larranaga closed his four-year career 17th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,249 points and holding records for game, season and career 3-point field goals. He was a three-time Academic All-MAC pick, posting a cumulative 3.4 grade point average in business.