Earlier this week, Southern Methodist University announced that coaching legend and Hall of Famer, 71-year old Larry Brown will be tasked with bringing its basketball program to life. Let’s hope Brown can outlast his five-year contract!
There’s probably been no better pure teacher of the game of basketball than Larry Brown, and he will try and do it again for his 14th team. But can Brown really be expected to “connect” with recruits and players over two generations younger? Think about this for a minute……that would be comparable to being coached by your GRANDFATHER. Plus, the Mustangs have not made the NCAA tournament for the last 19 years, and have not won an NCAA Tournament game since Brown led Kansas to the title back in 1988. Talk about a challenge! No problem for the “man who never met a coaching job he didn’t like.”
To say Larry Brown has done a lot in basketball is like saying that Wilt Chamberlain had a few girlfriends. Being around the game for as long has he has, one would expect many accolades and unique accomplishments to have come his way, but Brown’s notables are off the charts. Try this list on for size:
- Only coach to win an NBA title (Pistons, 2004) and an NCAA Championship (Kansas, 1988)
- Only person to play for (1964 gold medal) and coach (2004 bronze medal) U.S. Men’s National Team
- Only NBA coach to lead 8 different teams into the playoffs
- Only person to have coached TWO NBA franchises in the same season (Spurs and Clippers, 1991-92)
- Won championship as ABA player (Oakland Oaks, 1969)
- Holds ABA record for assists in game (23)
- MVP of ABA’s first All-Star game (1968)
- 3-Time ABA All-Star
- 3-Time ABA Coach-of-the-Year (1973, 1975, 1976)
- NBA Coach-of-the-Year (76ers, 2001)
- Only NBA coach to take TWO different teams (76ers and Pistons) to the NBA Finals against the same opponent (Lakers, 2001 and 2004)
- Won 2,338 games as a pro coach (ABA and NBA)
- 6th All-Time in NBA wins with 2,002
- Won 177 games as college coach (3 Final Four appearances in only seven years)
- Enshrined in Hall of Fame (as a coach) – 2002
The resilient 5’-9” former UNC point guard out of Brooklyn has never shied away from controversy. From his very first coaching job at Davidson College in 1972 (where he never actually coached a regular-season game) until his last days with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010, the nomadic Larry Brown has always said whatever happens to be on his mind. Just ask Allen Iverson or Stephon Marbury. His extremely laid-back demeanor during media interviews masks a tenaciously demanding coach behind the scenes. Unfortunately, that trait has left Brown with a reputation for quick turnarounds but messy departures….many times courting other teams while still under contract. Most recently, he has questioned the credibility and loyalty of those surrounding Michael Jordan with the Bobcats. Oops, one Tar Heel challenging another? That should be interesting to follow!
At his welcoming press conference on campus this week in Dallas, with his SMU coaching predecessor and fellow Tar Heel Matt Doherty awkwardly sitting in the front row, Brown remarked that “when I look in the mirror, I get kind of scared. But inside, I feel like I can do this forever.” Moody Coliseum, the 55-year old crumbling arena of the Mustangs, will be undergoing a $40M major renovation in preparation for SMU’s move from Conference USA to the basketball-prominent Big East Conference in 2013. Despite his credentials, I’m betting that Larry Brown will have to undergo a few renovations of his own to prepare for this tough job!
Filed under: College Basketball
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