Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Larry Brown introduced at SMU


— Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown was formally introduced as SMU’s head coach on Monday at a news conference.

The 71-year-old Brown, who reportedly will receive $1.75 million a year for five years, was on the top of his game, cracking jokes with one of his pupils, invited guest Bill Self, and former SMU coach and fellow North Carolina graduate Matt Doherty, in attendance.

“When I look in the mirror, I get kind of scared. But inside, I feel like I can do this forever,” Brown said.

Brown is taking over a program that has revamped its facilities and has lots of top high school talent nearby. Standing outside the half-century-old Moody Coliseum, which is set to undergo $40 million in renovations, Brown said he saw the arena as “the same kind of facility” as Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke’s home court.

“Walking around this campus, if we can get a kid to visit here, I can’t imagine him going anywhere else,” Brown said.

Of his own contract, Brown noted: “I’ve always been overpaid, and this is no exception.”

Former KU assistant Doherty, who was fired after five seasons, said: “My biggest concern in this process was that they hire a good coach and a good person for my players and my recruits, because I care about those kids. And they did it.”

Brown, who met with SMU’s current players before the news conference with Doherty, quipped that among the changes in college athletics that he must adjust to is text messaging.

“I’m just learning how to text,” Brown said. “I think I’m going to have to get really proficient in that.”

Brown said that he filled in the current SMU players on his background, though they were blank when he mentioned he played for Frank McGuire and mentioned Henry Iba. He joked that he didn’t dare mention James Naismith, the inventor of the game.

Later, they did appear to get the longtime NBA coach’s reference to his famous spat with start Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson.

“I love practice,” Brown said then mimicked Iverson’s notorious press conference. “Practice. I’m talking about practice.”

As for his style of play, Brown said: “I want to play fast if we’re better. I want long athletic kids who want to guard. I want to get every loose ball that’s on the ground. I can’t play in multiple defenses so we’ll be man-to-man and we’ll pick you up in the airport.”


Michael Pannacciulli 6 years, 11 months ago

Hasn't he been introduced already? Wish him luck. Great grab for that school. Hope we play him eventually.

Joel Hood 6 years, 11 months ago

"...invited guest Bill Self, and former SMU coach and fellow North Carolina graduate Matt Doherty, in attendance.... Former KU assistant Doherty, who was fired after five seasons, said: 'My biggest concern in this process was that they hire a good coach and a good person for my players and my recruits, because I care about those kids. And they did it.'”

Does anyone else find it odd that Doherty was in attendance for this announcement? It sure looks like his firing was amicable or at least a mutual decision.

6 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. If it was anything but amicable, it had to have been extremely awkward. I don't recall ever hearing about a fired coach helping his replacement get settled in, providing introductions to players and such.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 11 months ago

I hate hearing that Matt Doherty was fired. At one time, his career was on the fast track to big-time success. I always thought that he really helped Williams on the recruiting trail. Hopefully, he will get another chance to coach somewhere and maybe find success

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations to Larry Brown. Although his suitcase is always packed, I will forever thank him for bringing Danny Manning to KU and coaching us to a national championship. I hope he can find success at SMU. Going out the way he did with the New York Knicks is not the way I would like to see his career end.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 11 months ago

His introduction started with the words,

"Everybody, look quick...."

REHawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Classy press conference. I really hope to see Matt Doherty land on his feet. He certainly has mingled with the best of coaches, and appears to be one of the good guys in the game.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

"They Call Him Coach, Too"

This is an exceptionally healthy innovation in the coaching profession IMHO, and something that bodes well for a game hanging in the balance IMHO.

Coaches are often fired quickly and often because of unrest among key donors, or because of a mob mentality among the fans, neither of which are necessarily the best judges of character and reasons for retaining, or firing. Other times they lose connection with their players, or are bad actors, and ought to be relieved.

The first two reasons above for firing lead to a lot of unfortunate cost to players that committed to the outgoing coach and now have to decide whether to transfer and lose a year of eligibility, or stay on and risk having to play with a coach they don't like.

Alas, no one seems willing to fire the donors. The fans? If you can't keep them happy with all of the PR and quite a bit of news reporting that is just PR in drag, well, not much can be done there either.

And chancellors are just the most politically sensitive animals on the planet outside of Presidents and governors, so it is unrealistic to think a chancellor can change his or her spots. Their job, without putting too fine a point on it is to sacrifice whoever it takes to hang on to their job, and hope they raise more money than they sacrifice good people doing it.

ADs? Well, some say the acuteness of this problem started with a group of ADs that turned college sports into "College Sports Inc." (a book title by Murray Sperber on the subject) by applying bottom line corporate management and PR techniques to the college game, and then by turning a legacy NCAA regulatory body into little more than an AD cartel for brokering college sports to networks. A few of them are good men/women, but not enough right now, and it is hard to ask them to go change what they tried to create in the first place.

But something can be done at the professional level of coaches, when a rare chancellor/AD combo can be engaged successfully to participate.

What SMU did is practically revolutionary and seems an effective small step in rectifying the problem of frequent firings and the cost shifting onto players that results.

If an AD goes to a coach that he respects as a person and as a professional and says that he feels a change is needed, it shows good faith by an AD and the outgoing coach to be able to agree on an incoming coach. Its not that the outgoing coach picks the incoming coach as much as the outgoing coach says, "Yeah, this guy would be okay for my kids and so I don't have to tell them to transfer to protect themselves. I can tell my players that the incoming coach is a man they can trust."

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

This can of course lead to some cronyism down the road from good-old-boyism, but most professions depend heavily on good-old-boy/girlism for quality control and, while it can lead to abuses, nepotism, and exclusionary practices based on things other than competency alone, the coaching profession presently faces the problems created by a lack of professional quality control probably created in significant part by the ridiculously rapid firing of coaches that the politics of universities and W&L statements and revenue streams places on the Chancellors and ADs.

So: in this situation, SMU is in one felled swoop striking a blow against Age-ism, by hiring a supremely qualified person, striking a blow against religious/cultural prejudice by being a Christian/Texas institution hiring an at least nominally Jewish/Easterner, and is striking a blow against the abuse of players caused by firings, by hiring a man that the outgoing coach (a UNC/KU man we have reason to trust) respects and can recommend to his players, so they don't have to transfer, and the AD and the donors are getting their new coach and a fresh start.

But its not just using Matt and Larry in combination, but also using Bill Self I would guess in a publicly recognized (at least after the fact) mediation/advisory capacity that is also innovative.

College basketball appears to be in a struggle for its integrity--in a struggle for its independence--from the troubling, coercive and corrupting forces cited by former Indiana University Professor Murray Sperber in his book "College Sports, Inc. (1990).

Every coach, every school, that can be recruited in this struggle to preserve the integrity and independence of the universities and the game in this regard; that is, to face down the nexus of the media-gaming-player agency-merchandizing complex that has emerged to erode and undermine the authority of the universities and university ADs, and university coaches, and the game itself, ought to be considered an important, even an heroic step forward.

Their appear to be fault lines established already in the landscape of college basketball. On one side of these fault lines appear to be institutions, chancellors, ADs, and coaches trying to do it "the right way." On the other side of the fault line appear to be institutions, chancellors, ADs and coaches not trying to do it "the right way."

All instituted, organized human activities have some rule breaking, even some corruption. No one is perfect. No organization is either.

But rational men and women can distinguish between greater and lesser corruption, between corruption that can be managed situationally and corruption that spreads perniciously, like a cancer, first exploiting a host, and then killing it.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

The problem rational men and women often run into in organized activity in the early stages of corruption spreading perniciously and rampantly and threatening the basic activity itself is this: if there is a little corruption that has come to be accepted and normalized as a result of a complicated legacy of an activity's development over time, at certain times, certain actors align and pursue selfish strategies that are egregiously more corrupt and do so betting that the "trying to do it the right way" actors will look the other way out of fear of their own wrong doings being used against them.

Bad actors depend on this dynamic in human activities to surge forward, to get the upper hand, and eventually to corrupt the activity beyond hope of reform.

In each of our every day lives, we face moral decisions. Do I dare speak up? Do I dare act, if the bad guys can ruin my life with my small transgressions, sometimes even accidental transgressions, that they can uncover with private investigators, and then smear me with through parts of the media they may have compromised, when I cannot afford to defend myself, nor can I afford to hire the private investigators to expose them, nor can I sometimes even be sure that if I were to produce the evidence that the legal/political system itself would be sufficiently clear of their reach to assure me getting a fair hearing?

Larry Brown has FU money to put it in vernacular.

What he has he owes to his hard work and to the game of basketball.

Larry Brown could walk away and leave cleaning up the game to others.

But Larry Brown appears to be choosing to be counted among those coaches that are "trying to do it the right way."

Brown and his past "motion plays," and use of some players with questionable transcripts, were dealt with pretty harshly in Murray Sperber's "College Sports, Inc."

But Brown has always counted himself among the guys "trying to do it the right way" inspite of his critics.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

And Brown now appears to be putting himself, his reputation, and a significant portion of the remainder of his life in the balance and he is implying, "I don't need the money. And I don't care what you people say about me. I am here to try to do it the right way and add one more school and program to the side of the "trying to do it the right way" guys. Watch me."

Maybe Larry Brown is trying to clean up his rep and ensure he gets into some hall of fame or another that he isn't already a member of.

Fine, we don't care why someone wants to "try to do it the right way."

Like the Marines, we are looking for a few good men.

Coaching is no profession for sissies.

Coaching D1, while trying to do it the right way, at a time when the coercive, corrupting forces appear to be at one of their seemingly cyclic highs, is not for the weak kneed.

And coaches on the bubble, and coaches with short contracts, and young coaches just starting out with families to raise, may not be the group of Untouchables required to stand fast for "trying to do it the right way."

Frankly, instead of shrugging, and rolling our eyes, about Larry Brown trying coaching again, and saying condescending things like he'll be gone in two years, as I myself have recently written, instead of doing and writing all those things we ought to be saying, "Way to go, Coach. Way to go! We're for you all the way coach. Man, you have got some character to go up against these guys at this time in your life, when most guys are cutting checks from the media-gaming-player agency-merchandizing complex, rather than coaching young players to get better, likely make some serious money at one professional level or another, get degrees, and facing down the coercive, corrupting forces that appear to be eroding the game's integrity and the chancellors, ADs, and coaches control over it!"

They call him coach, too.

Go, Larry, go!!!!!!!!

P.S.: And go, Matt, go!!!!!

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

One more thing: SMU is probably about to join the Big 12. :-)

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