Monday, October 20, 2014

Larry Brown especially fond of Allen Fieldhouse

Current Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, left, and former KU coach Larry Brown visit on the bench during the Legends of the Phog game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Current Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, left, and former KU coach Larry Brown visit on the bench during the Legends of the Phog game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown has been in virtually all the great hoops arenas in his 74 years on the planet.

Where does Allen Fieldhouse rank?

“It’s the best building ever. I don’t think anything compares to Allen Fieldhouse,” third-year SMU coach Brown said Sunday. He’ll be back in Kansas University’s shrine with fellow former KU coaches Ted Owens and Roy Williams and current coach Bill Self at 7:30 p.m., a week from today, paying homage to the building which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

“I always think when they put in an encyclopedia what a fieldhouse is supposed to be like, it’d be Allen Fieldhouse,” Brown added.

Brown, whose five KU teams had a 71-5 record in Allen, said: “The thing I always remember is going up in the stands before games early, sitting down and talking to people who had watched games since the beginning and the love they had for this school and the pride they had in everybody that played and coached there. That stands in my mind more than anything.”

The man who coached KU to the 1988 national title does have a favorite game or two in Allen.

“I had so many I could look to, but we played Missouri my first year, and Ced (Hunter) unfortunately was ruled ineligible, and Mark (Turgeon) got to start (at point). I don’t know why, (but) I always think of that game. I really felt like, ‘Hey, we made it.’ I think we beat them pretty good,” Brown added of KU’s 73-56 victory.

“Obviously, the game when Leonard Hamilton was gracious enough to let us put Archie in,” Brown added of Archie Marshall, who despite being on crutches was inserted late in a 75-57 win over Oklahoma State on March 5, 1988. OSU coach Hamilton let Marshall launch an uncontested shot.

“It was Danny’s (Manning) last game and so special in that regard, but the fact Archie got to play despite some disappointments will stand out for me as well.”

Brown and his staff also were responsible for bringing the “Late Night” tradition to town. Late Night celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The first Late Night was in 1985-86, Brown’s third season here.

“It was embarrassing at first when they said, ‘Late Night With Larry,’” Brown said. “I didn’t want that, just like I wanted ‘Kansas basketball school’ for our (summer) camp. I remember one year they wanted to get Vanna White (from Wheel of Fortune) to come. She was too expensive. I kind of laugh at that now,” Brown added. “What it has become is incredible. That’s a credit to Bill. It’s amazing.”

Brown said he’s “flattered” to take part in next Monday’s “Celebrating 60 Years” program, which Self has called a “rap session” of sorts with host Jay Bilas of ESPN.

“That was a big part of my life being there,” Brown said. “What Bill has done, what Roy’s done, what Ted has meant to the program before I got there, I have admiration for all of them, Bill in particular. He’s included me in so many things since I left. He’s made me feel part of that program, something I don’t take lightly and appreciate.”

For tickets to next Monday’s show, go to or call 1-800-34-Hawks.


Tom Longhofer 6 years, 12 months ago

Once after a Pacers playoff game Coach Brown wanted to express his appreciation for the good home crowd support for his team. He said it was the loudest crowd he'd ever heard, even louder than Allen Field House. Of course, the Pacers crowd wasn't really louder than KU, but it was a nice compliment for both teams' crowds.

Greg Lux 6 years, 12 months ago

For some people, like Larry, you have to leave something to really appreciate how great you had it when you were there. Larry for all his travels now really appreciates how great he had it as the Head Basketball Coach in the Greatest Field House at the Greatest Basketball School in the World...

Robert Brown 6 years, 12 months ago

When I was at KU in the late 70s/ early 80s, Allen Field House did not have the esteem it has today. It was still big and could be loud 4-5 times a year. It was rarely sold. There were some good teams. KU made it to the NCAA tournament in 1978 and 1981. From my perspective, it amazes me what the program has become and how revered Allen Field House is today.

When I was in college at that time, as sports fans I wanted to witness two sport scenarios. 1. KU win the NCAA basketball championship and 2. KC Royals win the World Series. I've seen the former happen twice and can think of at least four other times it should have happened. I felt grateful for the Royals winning in 1985 and never thought the latter would smell the playoffs since the mid 1990s!!

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 12 months ago

I'd love to see Self put SMU on the schedule next year and give Coach Brown one more chance to coach in Allen Fieldhouse. SMU is good enough to give a challenging game to KU and it'd be good opportunity to really honor Coach Brown one more time.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

The overall program was re-energized when Coach Brown and Manning arrived. I have been a fan since 1972 but there was a noticeable difference when Brown arrived. It has been there ever since. Thanks Coach B!

Aaron I think there is an understanding between coaches that you only play past coaches/schools if it happens in the NCAA's. I would support playing SMU instead of WSU or Missouri everyday however.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 12 months ago

There are times when coaches help out former coaches and players with games, like Tad Boyle out in Colorado a couple years ago, but Coach Brown needs no help with his team or BB in general.

Coach Brown has free access to the field house and this program, so no need to return to compete against it. Coach Self has continued, and even accentuated the history/familia of KU BB that Larry really worked to create and Roy nurtured through adolescence. I think it is lost sometimes on the folks that weren't around in the 70's & early 80's; that don't realize it wasn't always like this.

Mick Allen 6 years, 12 months ago

Dirk, you are absolutely correct. I remember the last 2 years of Owens stay, when crowds of 8,000 to 9,000 were not unusual. You could get a helluva deal on game and season tickets. Ted couldn't beat Hartman's 2-3 zone and that and the fall off in attendance finally cost him his job under AD Monte Johnson.

Tom Longhofer 6 years, 12 months ago

Owens's last two years were down, but Owens had brought in Kelly Knight, Carl Henry,Greg Dreiling, Ron Kellogg, Calvin Thompson, and Kerry Boagni. Cedric Hunter arrived later, but he was recruited by Owens' assistant JoJo White. Owens left Brown with some pretty good players.

Mick Allen 6 years, 12 months ago

I would agree withKnight, Dreiling, Kellogg, Thompson and Henry helping Brown but not Boagni, who Brown ran off in his first year here. Brown got that team into the NCAA tournament, where we lost in the second game to Wake Forest in Lincoln, Nebraska I believe.

Robert Brown 6 years, 12 months ago

Under Owens, it appeared that they projected a great year every 3-4 years based on the development of recruits. There was not sustained success, but it was a different time. In the 1970s- Final 4 in 1971 and 1974. League champs in 1975 and 1978. In between were some .500 season and some seasons with just under 20 wins

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

Owens was very loyal to his players and rarely recruited over them. Plus it seemed he finished 2nd with key recruits far too often, i.e. Alvin Adams in '71. I loved Owens but we all saw it was coming.

Brown means everything to the KU BBall program. I was shocked that Williams was able to take the program to higher, although no NCs, levels. I'm speechless when it comes to Self.

Mick Allen 6 years, 12 months ago

In the 70s it was certainly less arduous to make the Final 4 than it is today with the 66 team field. In 74 when KU made the Final 4 we qualified for the tournament automatically by winning the conference. To get to the Final 4 we beat SMU and Oklahoma City. In71 we won league and then beat Creighton, I think, and Oral Roberts to go to the Final 4. Ted was 0 for4 in the Final 4 as far as games actually played, although we were later given a victory over Marquette in the 3rd place game because their star player was determined to be ineligible. While still justifiably proud of our 71 and 74 teams the road to the Final 4 was certainly more navigable than today.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 12 months ago

It varies from coach to coach on how they feel about stuff like that. I know Bobby Cremins coached against GT a few years ago and GT went all out to honor him and I think it'd be a cool way to honor LB's career. If I was Coach Self, I would privately float the idea past Coach Brown and if LB wanted to do it, then Self could get that game on the schedule. I realize it's possible a game like this where there would be a lot of emotions involved on LB's part could make him not want to do for the same reasons Roy doesn't want to voluntarily play KU.

I just think it'd be an awesome way to for the KU fan base to honor LB one more time and see him roam the sidelines of the Phog again even if it's for the other team.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

Cool??? Let's look at both sides here --- So to honor Brown we invite him to AFH, beat his team probably, give him a plaque and call it a great night? Or lose to them, honor Brown and turn to each other and say I am glad we lost tonight it was so special? I do not see a positive in playing each other outside of the NCAA's one of us will be disappointed. Roy gets it, there is too much respect for their former programs to play each other, there is no way to win.

Look at the picture above, those are two guys that like to be on the same side, not opposing each other. Dirk is right Larry is welcome in AFH anytime he wants,

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

Owens had an "Adolf Rupp Night" in AFH. I believe it was Rupp's last year coaching, circa '71.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

Not sure how that relates since Rupp never was the head coach of KU. Rupp was long gone by the time AFH was built too. You of course know that.

We lost by 10 on the way to a 15 loss season btw. I am sure KY felt great about it, after our next loss we fell out of the rankings for good that season. If you want to honor a past player or coach, you can do it outside the game, at half time or after the game. Its basketball someone has to lose, I just do not see how that is honoring them. (See Wilt's last visit to campus in Jan. 1998, now that is the way to honor someone at AFH) Wilt did not play in AFH either but he saw his place of honor there, and the response of the fans. Now that was a great night for everyone.

Jack Jones 6 years, 12 months ago

One of the most emotional moments in AFH history ~ and, the timing only added to the impact.

Mick Allen 6 years, 12 months ago

Rodney, Wilt's appearance in 1998, was as emotionally uplifting as any event I've ever witnessed in Allen Field House and I would say conservatively I have seen 99% of all the games played in that fabulous arena since it was built. Thanks for reminding me of a great homecoming for the Big Dipper.

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