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Friday, March 4, 2011

Larry Brown ‘amazed’ by fieldhouse fans

Former Kansas men’s basketball coach Larry Brown takes in the action of the KU-Texas A&M game Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Kansas men’s basketball coach Larry Brown takes in the action of the KU-Texas A&M game Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown stood in a corner of Kansas University’s shiny, new practice facility Thursday afternoon, his eyes focused on the court as he conducted a one-on-one media interview.

“I don’t know if I love the games, (but) I love the practices, love being around the coaches and players,” said the 70-year-old former KU coach, who left his post with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats in late December.

In his element observing a short KU practice with former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie on Thursday, Brown admits he was blown away by the atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse for Wednesday’s 64-51 Senior Night victory over Texas A&M.

“The thing that amazed me is the place was full — after the game,” Brown said of 16,300 fans sticking around well after 10 p.m., for speeches of Mario Little, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed.

“It was pretty darn impressive. Of course the Senior Day I remember is Archie’s ... when Leonard Hamilton was nice enough to let Archie (Marshall) come in at the end and be part of it,” Brown added.

He was referring to KU’s 75-57 victory over Oklahoma State on March 5, 1988. OSU coach Hamilton, who had current KU coach Bill Self on his staff, allowed Marshall to limp on the floor and, with the aid of crutches, hoist an uncontested shot — one that missed — with 1:33 left.

Allen Fieldhouse had no video board that day to show highlights of KU seniors Marshall, Danny Manning and Chris Piper. On Wednesday, Brown, who coached at KU from 1984-88, was able to watch numerous videos, including the stirring pre-game piece which opens with his quote: “There’s no better place to coach, there’s no better place to go to school, there’s no better place to play (than Kansas).”

“The NBA goes out of their way to have all these things going on. I can’t imagine a better beginning of a game than that, especially when the first thing you see is Wilt Chamberlain,” Brown said.

Of his own quote, also framed on a wall outside the KU locker room, Brown noted: “It’s pretty amazing to know you are part of something so special here.”

Wednesday’s victory assured KU at least a share of its school-record seventh straight regular-season conference championship. Last school from a major conference to win as many in a row was UCLA, which won 13 straight from 1967 to ‘79.

“It blows me away,” Brown said of the streak, engineered by one of the members of his coaching tree, eighth-year KU coach Self.

“Roy’s body of work was phenomenal,” he added of successor Roy Williams’ 15 ultra-successful seasons. “Being here eight years and seeing his (Self’s) body of work and the way he does it, how humble he is and how he includes everybody and respects everybody, it is one of the great feats.

“You look at the ACC, Big East, Pac-10, Big Ten, any conference, there’s not a lot of difference. I don’t see people accomplishing that in those places. He’s done it with all different kinds of players, all different kinds of kids. I was in Philly when John (Calipari, one of Brown’s former KU assistants) was recruiting the (Morris) twins (to Memphis). I got to see them play. I thought they were really young talented kids. Their improvement is remarkable.”

Brown didn’t discuss what he likes or maybe doesn’t like about this year’s KU team.

That’s something he figures to share with Self and Self alone.

“We went to lunch today. We had dinner last night after the game. You can pick up stuff just talking to him about anything,” said Self, who worked as a grad assistant for Brown in 1985-86. “He’s a very wise man. He and Billy are watching practice today. Hopefully they’ll watch with the intent of helping me.

“They can’t talk to the players about anything (regarding specific instruction in accordance with NCAA rules), but certainly I like it when you have a different set of eyes to come and evaluate the team,” Self added.

Brown — the only coach to have won both an NCAA (KU, 1988) and NBA (Detroit, 2004) championship — is allowed to make small talk with the Jayhawks.

“Hi, coach. Thanks for coming,” freshman Josh Selby said, shaking Brown’s hand while chasing a rebound.

“You healthy?” Brown asked Selby. “Yes, getting there,” responded the Baltimore combo guard, who has been hobbled by a stress reaction in his right foot.

“Good, nice to see you,” Brown added as Selby headed back to the court.

Blessed with a quick wit, Brown needled Self who, asked a reporter and his mentor what they were talking about.

“He was commenting about your legs,” Brown deadpanned as Self jogged away wearing his droopy, blue KU hoops shorts.

On a final serious note, Brown reiterated how proud he is of his coaching tree, one that includes KU grads Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) and Tad Boyle (Colorado). Turgeon, Boyle and Self have all been mentioned as possible Big 12 coach of the year candidates.

“Last night was different. It was interesting seeing ‘Turg’ over there. I’m proud of him. He’s done an amazing job with that team,” Brown said of the Aggies, who are headed to the NCAA Tournament. “I watch him a lot, talk to him a lot. Tad’s team had a tough loss last night (vs. Iowa State) in that they might have moved up in the tournament. I was teasing that I have so many problems, watching my guys coach when they coach against each other. It’s the best part of coaching to know guys who have been so good to you are doing so well,” Brown added.

Brown, of course, doesn’t need to coach again to solidify his position as one of the greats.

As to whether he wants to coach again?

“I think so. I don’t know at what level or what capacity. I look in the mirror. I know I’m 70. Inside I don’t feel like that. I still have a passion for the game,” he said.

Comments

Scott Oswalt 3 years, 1 month ago

When I was bartending an event at the KU Alumni Center, I had the pleasure of meeting Larry Brown. Nicest guy ever. He likes scotch :)

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John Randall 3 years, 1 month ago

""" Brown would have left within a couple of years even if he hadn't gone on probation, """

True, he wasn't likely to stay much longer – KU was already the longest tenure he had anywhere up to that time. However, implying that he left to avoid the probation is a really cheap shot at someone KU basketball is forever indebted to.

Coach Brown had already accepted the San Antonio job before the NCAA issued the probation and post-season ban. Larry even offered to return and suffer the results of his humanitarian gesture. Our AD was afraid the vindictive powers at NCAA would increase the penalties. The true story may never come out, but someone served a vendetta with that decision.

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REHawk 3 years, 1 month ago

100, many thanks for your historical account and perspective today. What a journey for the Kansas coaching tree...eventually to land Brown and Williams and Bill Self!!!!!

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REHawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Great stories here about Larry Brown. Memories will spring forth someday when Roy returns to sit at courtside, I imagine. Here's wishing the best to Billy G. What a trap he walked into after Kenstinky ousted Tubby. I envision Billy leading another and cozier Div. I program to national prominence. Is surprising that he has not yet resurfaced. If Tech gives Pat Knight the boot, it might be nice to see Billy back in the arms of the Big 12...although Lubbock might be too much of a deadend road for our sport. I winter in South Texas where football is king. If the word basketball is called forth in sports pages, it usually involves bold print for girls' teams. My wife teaches down here; claims that boys are reluctant to advertise that they play roundball. I know that some great recruits come out of the northern TX cities, but much of the state is so football insane that basketball is rarely given attention. Antithesis of Lawrence...or Burlington, Ks.

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justinryman 3 years, 1 month ago

My first knowing of KU basketball was after my dad went to a Nike coaching clinic where coach Brown was at. One night my dad and another coach decided to leave the hotel and find a bar a block away or so. They were sitting at a larger table and in walked coach Brown, coach Knight, and a few others. They asked if they could sit down with them as the reconized them from the camp meetings. My dad said they were all very good guys, but that Larry Brown was sharing plays on a napkin with my dad. When my dad returned back to central Nebraska he told me all about it along with an autographed Larry Brown bar napkin(still got it), and I became a KU fan in 1986.

I met Roy Williams at the collage World Series in Omaha the year that UNC won the NC. he liked my KU hat and offered to autograph that, but it wa s dirty one and on its last leg, so Igot him to sign my program. It was at the end of the game, he spent about 10 minutes talking with my wife and I, even taking pictures with me. He was very nice and I even congratulated him on getting his NC. I told him I did not hold it against him for leaving, he went home, and you can't blame anyone for going home. He shook my hand and asked me where he could get a good steak, I offered my back yard got a laugh and then told him a nice little family place with great steak, not sure if he went or not.

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Pam McCormick 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe I am different from other posters, but I got over my bad feelings about Roy in April of '08 when we owned his tarheals from start to finish in the final 4. Now I find myself rooting for his teams especially against Puke.

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Topcitykid10 3 years, 1 month ago

I know this is Browns story but looking forward to Roy coming back when he is done with UNC, that ovation should last about 10 minutes straight if not longer. It would be cool to hang the names of Brown, Williams, Self in the rafters at one point.

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Steve Gantz 3 years, 1 month ago

The best coaching move Brown ever made was hiring Ed Manning, without a doubt. There was no way Danny was coming to Kansas before that.

My favorite coach Brown moment (besides the NC) was a play happened in front of coach. The ball rolled to his feet. The refs' decision didn't please Larry so he picked up the ball and rolled it all the way to the other end of the court. A satisfying T if there ever was one.

Maybe his most important contribution to KU bball however was re-establishing the program with a nice little 4 year run and then leaving. He opened the door for Roy who had more staying power, Brown would have left within a couple of years even if he hadn't gone on probation, and the rest has been simply amazing.

A lot of great memories from my KU years of 85-88. Hope to see a game in AFH again some day, I haven't even been back there since I graduated. I guess that's about the only thing Wilt and I had in common!

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Hank Cross 3 years, 1 month ago

My first year was Brown's 1st year. IIRC the basketball ticket was like a lunch card and you got it punched at every game and you could buy it without buying football tix. I think the next year you had to get both, and I remember picking up the BB and FB tix and giving the FB tix back.

There were some great games during that first year, beating Wichita State with Xavier McDaniel,and even the OT loss to OU. It made beating OU in the B8 tourney that much sweeter.

All you have to do is look where KU was before Brown and where it has been since him. Twenty+ win seasons and tourney bids are givens. We think of conference titles like the NY Yankees regard AL East championships. We've had our share of disappointments for sure. Those disappointments happened not because the teams were bad, but happened because the team failed to live up to their sky-high potential.

Brown came in a league with backwater hack coaches like Stewart, Hartman, Tubbs, Orr etc. and built a national power. For so many reasons, it will always be Larryville.

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kcglowboy 3 years, 1 month ago

Sorry I've been a board hog today -- wunnerful memories. Anyway, one last comment (I promise): Anyone today still "feel the power" the way Larry Brown and his staff used to ???

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chriz 3 years, 1 month ago

May I suggest using a different picture to show Coach Brown's "amazement" with AFH? He has that look on his face as if he's saying (sarcastically), "Yeah guys. Amazing."

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Greg Lux 3 years, 1 month ago

Coach Brown put fire back in the KU Basketball program when he came on board. He was smarter then Dean Smith who was sure Danny was coming to NC to play basketball. But, no Coach Brown didn't recruit Danny he hired Danny's dad as a coach and put Danny in high school in Lawrence for one year. A move for the ages. One of my favorite Coach Brown stories comes from one of his 88 players. Coach was so worried about OU's speed he told his players to not play run and gun with OU. He wanted the Hawks to play half court offense only. But the team got together right before the game and agreed to just go out and "give'm hell". Every time out Coach would try and get them to slow it down. Every time the clock started they would turn in up. The result was one of the greatest first half's in NCAA Championship history 50 - 50. The moral to the story is you can coach all you want but the final decision will always be up to the players on the court. Thanks Coach Brown for bringing the KU Basketball program back to a national power. Thanks Coach Williams for continuing that tradition. Thanks Coach Self for keeping the KU tradition going and even improving something that was at the top ( hard to do for sure ).

Rock Chalk

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Chad DeShazo 3 years, 1 month ago

I think the thing that I enjoyed the most watching Larry coach was when he'd get upset and shake that rolled up paper in his hand and stomp on the floor to get the attention of the ref or player that had his ire at the moment. I recall more than one technical foul assessed from that behavior but I just loved it when he'd start stomping on the hardwood.

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Randy Maxwell 3 years, 1 month ago

Larry Brown gets KU on probation and bolts KU for the NBA leaving KU in such a bad spot that no decent coach would take the job and he get's applauded by the fans. Roy saves the program makes it what it is now and leaves for his dream job and gets hammered by the fans. Wow what a joke

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William Blake 3 years, 1 month ago

Thank you, Larry, for playing a big part in bringing back KU basketball! We've been on a roll ever since you came to Kansas!

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TimmytheJayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Also, somebody is going to get a hell of a coach in Billy G. sometime soon. It'll be interesting to see where he lands.

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jaymar74 3 years, 1 month ago

Don't get me wrong, I love coach Brown, but why is it he left us (first saying he was going to UCLA then saying he was staying then 2 months later leaving for the NBA and 2 months later we were on probation) and we love him and welcome him back. Any mention of coach Williams still draws boos. What is the difference between Brown and Williams, I know Brown won a championship but no one can say Roy wasn't successful. So why do we treat each of them so totally differently?

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TimmytheJayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

I love you Larry! Such a great coach. I was a Freshman in '88 and only got to enjoy you for one year, but what a year it was!

Nice insight from the posters on our transformation in the 80's under Coach Brown.

We are definitely lucky to have Coach Self!

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Mike Ardis 3 years, 1 month ago

I always think of the Archie Marshall shot vs. OSU in '88 and how he limped on the floor at the end but I don't remember him taking the shot "with the aid of crutches." I just remember Hamilton telling players to stay away and let him take the shot. Maybe I don't remember it right or perhaps the story has grown over the years...

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justinryman 3 years, 1 month ago

Speaking of great support, hlep Coach Self and his wife Cindy get $10,000 for thier charity on espn.com, just follow this link to help them win!!! "http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/infiniti/2011/?dcn=1&dcp=oin.58754082.&dcc=40981165.237469173"

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

Note that coach Brown went to dinner and lunch, but not breakfast.

Breakfast just isn't the same if it isn't at Carol Lee.

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Justin Carlson 3 years, 1 month ago

I will never forget my first time on KU's campus in the summer of 1986! My folks were farmers in east central KS, and I just a small 6th grader dreaming of the day I could go to KU for a basketball camp.

The evening before the camp my mom and dad came to me and said "Pack you a bag Justin we are heading to Lawrence!"

My folks didn't have much money. I never did ask how long they saved to send me to camp. Heck they may have sold on of my bucket calves!

When we arrived a Naithsmith Hall the first person I saw was Danny Manning! I about fainted! As I looked around the room Kellogg, Thompson, Dreiling! Oh my I was in heaven!

The next thing to happen will forever stand as one of the coolest things I will ever remember about Coach Larry Brown! He walks up to my parents on crutches and says, "Hey folks I am Larry Brown it is really early have you guys had breakfast? Would you like to join me? I dropped my backpack and my jaw hit the floor!

Coach LB thank you for all you have done for KU basketball and thank you for the love of this program I now haveI

Mostly thank you for taking the time to spend a few moments with my parents. For that I am eternally grateful!

KU = Is Heaven on Earth played with a basketball!!

LATER JC

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 1 month ago

I remember coming back from Houston and landing at the OKC airport that famous Monday night when Danny and the Miracles took over in the second half. My wife to be and I watched the whole entire second half on the airport TV, knowing we still had to drive back to Wichita, KS. It was a memorable night. When I got back, the local CBS station had a replay of the game. I dissected the VCR-taped copy over and over again, making sure I had every possession down in my brain. Was Billy Tubbs out coached that night or what? One of my favorite KU games to watch---KU was a huge underdog that night and it was the classic championship game that will always be in my memory bank and heart. Thanks, Larry Brown, for your contributions! Rock Chalk.

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Martin Rosenblum 3 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Monkeywrench here:

"....On a final serious note, Brown reiterated how proud he is of his coaching tree, one that includes KU grads Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) and Tad Boyle (Colorado). Turgeon, Boyle and Self have all been mentioned as possible Big 12 coach of the year candidates.?

He must have been only referring to his pride for coaches in the tree that are active now in the B12. Calipari's name wasn't included in his "pride" list from his coaching tree. But, he still visits with him at KY as well as now coming to KU. So, what is his agenda?

The past is the past and LB was very valuable to KU. I totally agree with that sentiment. However, I, for one, don't understand his current nostalgia road trip. Maybe he and Billy are forming some sort of "Coaches Without Jobs" consulting coalition.

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TRUEBLUEKU 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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RockCaCO3 3 years, 1 month ago

“It’s pretty amazing to know you are part of something so special here.”

Damn right you're part of something special at KU, coach Brown. Hell yeah!

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Kent Wells 3 years, 1 month ago

Personally, I would really like to see Coach Browns jersey retired and hung in the rafters next to Max. No. 88. That would be pretty special. I'd like to start that campaign right now!

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doolindalton 3 years, 1 month ago

Larry restored Kansas basketball. He brought back the fan base and pride in the program. When he was hired, you could walk up to the AFH ticket window and buy an admission and not worry too much about getting a decent seat. By the time he left, the seating situation was frenized. Besides winning the NC with a team that was seeded 5th, he invented "Late Night with Larry." In many ways, he is still my favorite KU basketball coach.

Even though staying in one place was never his style, his comments and his periodic returns to Lawrence reflect that he enjoyed being at Kansas and being part of the tradition. I remember writing him at the San Antonio Spurs office after he left (and he does not know me from squat) and telling him how much I enjoyed his tenure at KU. He actually wrote back reassuring me that Roy Williams would do a great job at KU. A coach of the people for sure.

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stm62 3 years, 1 month ago

I grew up watching Coach Owens and the Jayhawks. Larry entered the scene my sophomore year of college and brought the program to new heights. The program hasn't been down since. We're very fortunate to have had great coaches that have maintained a high level of excellence over a long period of time. This is especially true when considering other traditional powers have been unable to do so. ie. Indiana, Carolina, UCLA, etc.

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coloradojayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Somewhere I still have my "Keep Larry in Kansas" t-shirt from around the 1986 season. I wore it around Madison Square Garden when the Jayhawks won the game on free throws with no time left on the clock.

I really enjoy having Larry associated with KU.

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Funhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Larry Brown has aged well. Coincidentally, Bill Self and Larry Brown were practically the same age when they won their national championships at KU.

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DSommersby 3 years, 1 month ago

LOVE Coach Brown! Great to hear he and Coach Self got to visit and talk some hoops. Hopefully this great Jedi of coaching passed on some great, sage advice to another Jedi in Coach Self. Always good to get fresh input and outside perspective. Good stuff. Rock Chalk!

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