DALLAS — Larry Brown was introduced Monday, April 23 as the next basketball coach at SMU, taking his first college coaching job in nearly a quarter century.
With trustees and more than 100 fans cheering and clapping, Brown said he was looking forward to coaching “quality basketball with quality student-athletes.”
“I never realized at 71, this opportunity would present itself,” Brown said.
The Hall of Famer is the only coach to win both an NCAA championship and an NBA title. Brown hasn’t coached since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats in December 2010 and he hasn’t coached at the college level since leaving Kansas after winning the NCAA tournament in 1988, the last year SMU won a tournament game.
Brown is taking over a program that has revamped its facilities and has lots of top high school talent nearby, but has struggled to win. SMU, which hasn’t advanced to the NCAA tourney since 1993, is also moving from Conference USA to the much tougher Big East in 2013.
Brown said he thought SMU has the resources to compete with the powerful programs in the Big East.
“Walking around this campus, if we can get a kid to visit here, I can’t imagine him going anywhere else,” Brown said.
Brown replaces Matt Doherty, who was fired after six seasons. Doherty attended Monday’s event, as did Kansas coach Bill Self. Details of Brown’s deal with SMU, a private school, were not disclosed.
Brown’s first coaching job was at Davidson in 1972, though he didn’t coach a game there before going to the ABA and then the NBA. He coached at UCLA (1979–81) and Kansas (1983–88) and was the coach of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team that had a disappointing bronze-medal finish.
Brown has a reputation for impressive turnarounds and some messy departures from teams. He has held a record nine NBA jobs and was 1,098-904 (.548 winning percentage) with Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, Philadelphia, Detroit, the New York Knicks and Charlotte. He took all of those teams but the Knicks to the playoffs.
Doherty went 80-109 in six seasons at SMU before he was fired March 13 with one year left on his deal. The Mustangs lost 11 of their last 14 games, including a 47-28 home loss to UAB on Feb. 15.
SMU has plans for a $40 million renovation of Moody Coliseum and built a new practice facility during Doherty’s stint.
The hiring of Brown came as SMU’s search was going into its sixth week. Other candidates included Marquette’s Buzz Williams, Long Beach State’s Dan Monson and Rick Majerus from Saint Louis.
Brown’s hiring was welcomed by Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who was fired by the Pistons in 2003 and replaced by Brown. Brown would win a championship in his first season and take the Pistons to the NBA finals before leaving to join the Knicks.
“It’s a big-time hire,” Carlisle said. “He’s a guy that I know well, he’s a friend. To get a guy in that stature and status to the city of Dallas to coach at SMU, it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. He’ll do a great job.” — (AP)