Friday, April 20, 2012

Brown named coach at SMU


— Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown, the only man to win both an NCAA (Kansas, 1988) and NBA (Detroit, 2004) championship, on Thursday was named head basketball coach at SMU.

Brown, 71, replaces former KU assistant Matt Doherty, who coached at the Conference USA school for six seasons (80-109 record).

“I’m thrilled that they think enough of me to put me in this position,” Brown told the Dallas Morning News. “I realize how important this hire is, going into the Big East (in two years). I always thought of myself as a college coach. Now this gives me a chance to get back where I started.”

Brown, whose contract terms weren’t revealed at the private school, may hire Illinois State coach/former KU assistant Tim Jankovich as a “coach in waiting.” The Pantagraph newspaper said Jankovich is “conflicted” in deciding whether to leave ISU to be an assistant again.

One of Brown’s prize pupils — KU All-American Danny Manning — will coach against Brown twice next season. Manning recently was named coach at Tulsa of Conference USA.

“It’ll be fun and I’ll enjoy it,” Manning told the Tulsa World. “When I see coach Brown, he’s going to have a lot of love and pride for me and I’m going to have the same for him.

“Coach Brown’s love and thirst for the game is unmatched,” Manning added. “People talk about him being away from the game for the last few years. He just hasn’t been a head coach. He hasn’t been away from the game. He’s been at practices at Villanova, Kentucky and Kansas. He’s been to NBA practices. Coach Brown, in the game of basketball, will always be connected. It’s his understanding of the game. I’ve never been around a coach with a better feel for the game of basketball. I’ve been around him a lot of years, as a player and a person, and it’s really affected me and the way I look at things. But it’s something that will always be a part of me, as a player and a coach.”

Brown spent several weeks with KU’s team this past season, following the Jayhawks through the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.

“Our players loved him,” KU coach Bill Self said. “This means a lot, because I know how much it means to him. He has nothing to prove, but he’s passionate and he loves to coach. They hired a guy who is a proven winner.”

Self, who spoke on Brown’s behalf to SMU athletic director Steve Orsini, said that Brown, who is in good physical condition and works out regularly, seems closer to 55 years old than 71.

“People have to understand, you’re coaching college kids in the NBA, so I’ve found out kids want to be taught, they want to be coached, they want to get better,” Brown said. “I really think the fact that I’ve had a background in both areas is going to help me.”

The Morning News said SMU is willing to pay more than $800,000 a year with a five-to-seven year guaranteed deal to secure Jankovich as top assistant. Former Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard and Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland are expected to join Brown.

Brown hasn’t coached since he left the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats in 2010 and hasn’t coached at the college level since leading KU to the national title in 1988. That’s the last season SMU won an NCAA tourney game. He will rank among the oldest active Division I coaches. Jackson’s State’s Tevester Anderson is 75. Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun turns 70 in May. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and San Diego State’s Steve Fisher are 67.

“Larry Brown is one of the top coaches in the history of the game,” Orsini said. “He is a legend and has made every team he has ever coached a winner. As we transition into the nation’s top basketball conference, the Big East, his leadership will be invaluable.”

Next up is Brown naming his assistant coaches.

“That’s the hardest thing, I think,” he said. “I don’t have enough jobs to help people that have been great to me. It’s been pretty painful in that respect.”


mojayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

SMU should be elated! Congrats to Coach Brown!

bradh 7 years, 4 months ago

Congrats Coach, SMU is getting a gem.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 4 months ago

CUSA has another Jayhawk in it's coaching ranks, Jerod Haase at UAB. They could form their own "alumni" group.

master16 7 years, 4 months ago

Congrats to Coach Brown. And SMU is getting one of the best coaches in the game. Larry Brown could very well be the guy that KU would turn to had HCBS decided he suddenly wanted to retire.

Andy Rieger 7 years, 4 months ago

Bill Self is no Urban Meyer, silly thought.

Robert Brock 7 years, 4 months ago

SMU cannot be revived. Even by Larry Brown.

ohjayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Some said that it would be impossible to revive SMU's football program after the death penalty, and they have just come off their 3rd straight season with a bowl appearance. The thing is, it's much easier to revive a basketball program than it is a football program. Unlike football, all you need is one or two highly-ranked recruits to make an impact. With the name-power of Coach Brown and the allure of competing in the Big East, I'd think that would be more than possible.

Robert Brock 7 years, 4 months ago

College football is very popular in the MetroPlex. College basketball is not popular. When the novelty of Larry Brown wears off - which will be soon - SMU will return to its natural place. Dead last.

ChicagoJHawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"I’m thrilled that they think enough of me to put me in this position"....really? Being humble, and not showing off and being cocky, is usually a good thing but that's a little extreme. Is anyone really shocked that SMU, a school with so much basketball history and tradition, would be willing to give such a rookie coach like Larry Brown a shot at coaching? (SARCASM!)

Congratulations Coach Brown! Hope all goes well at SMU.

jgkojak 7 years, 4 months ago

All those transfers we keep hearing about? Why wouldn't they add SMU to their list?

LAJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Larry Brown is his first college coaching job since taking KU to a miraculous title in 1988 going against his star player Danny Manning in his first head coaching job ever. Twice.

Utter craziness.

If anyone ever asked the question, "come on, when would every single Kansas fan be interested in a Conference USA game??"

You now have yourself the answer...

Redlandsjhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Good luck kid, now go make a name for yourself!

Joel Hood 7 years, 4 months ago

"According to Yahoo! Sports, the sides are so far along that Brown has already started reaching out to potential assistant coaches. Kentucky coach John Calipari, an assistant under Brown at Kansas in the 1980s, is reportedly helping in the process, along with William Wesley, a top agent for Creative Arts Agency."

Does anyone else feel a bit dirty after learning this...

Tim Orel 7 years, 4 months ago

Matt Doherty for KU's Director of BB Operations! Unless I missed something and the position has been filled. I liked him, and he had success at Notre Dame and UNC before it all fell apart. I think he'd benefit from time back at KU, but perhaps he'll head to UNC to be reunited with Roy.

Joel Hood 7 years, 4 months ago

Doherty's connection to KU was Roy. Why would MD take a 2-step demotion to come to KU when he has zero ties to the Self coaching staff? Why would he go back to UNC & Roy after all the drama there when Roy replaced him at UNC? No offense, but that is an odd prediction.

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 4 months ago

Very odd hire by SMU and very doubtful this will succeed. Brown does have record of not staying put for very long.

Carolyn Troupe 7 years, 4 months ago

I like Coach Brown a lot, but a couple of things jump out at me. First, If Jankovich is being offered 800,000 (a 300,000 raise to be just an asst coach (albeit head coach in waiting), what is Brown being paid to be top dog? Maybe he said, "I don't need the money; give it to my hand picked successor. Just let me get back in the game." Second, this looks like the SMU version of the Charlis Weis hire. What a way to get interest in SMU basketball ramped up - both among the fans (2000 a game!?!?) and among potential recruits. As much as I enjoyed Coach Brown's association with KU this past year, what could he do seriously here in an official capacity ? He wouldn't waste his time as DBO where he couldn't coach/teach. It looks like a great situation all around. As a Dallas metroplex resident who is already excited about TCU joining the Big 12, now I might even be fan 2,001 at an SMU BB-ball game (vs. Tulsa!)

LAJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

He could have taken Danny's place as an assistant, but, yeah, why do that when he could have an HC job somewhere. It would have been awesome to have him as an assistant, but it also would have been really, really weird for the only guy in the history of the game to win at both levels to do that. It never would have happened. Even if he wouldn't have been a head coach, I don't think he'd ever tie himself down to a team simply as an assistant. He loves coaching, but if he's not a head coach, I think he loves having the freedom to float around.

That's the way I see it, anyway.

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