Thursday, April 19, 2012
Larry Brown to take over at SMU
ESPN.com news services
DALLAS -- SMU announced Thursday that Hall of Famer Larry Brown will become the Mustangs' next men's basketball coach.
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at SMU," Brown said in a statement released by the university. "I've built so many relationships in the basketball world and my success has been due to the coaches I've played for and the players I've coached. ... I always thought of myself as a college coach and this gives me a wonderful chance to get back where I started."
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ESPN.com's Jason King reported Tuesday that Brown and SMU had reached an agreement but were still negotiating details. Brown told ESPN.com's Andy Katz earlier Thursday that the talks between his agent, Joe Glass, and SMU athletic director Steve Orsini were continuing.
The holdup to a final deal was contracts for Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich for a "coach-in-waiting" position, as well as contracts for Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard and former Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland.
No deal for Jankovich has been finalized, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Katz.
Jankovich has five years left on his current contract and hasn't given Illinois State any indication that he is leaving. SMU issued a statement Thursday saying no staff additions have been made.
The source said that Jankovich is interested, but it hasn't reached the point for him to make a final decision on leaving a potential Missouri Valley title team. Jankovich was receiving congratulatory text messages Thursday that the source said were premature since there had been no decision.
SMU is moving from Conference USA to the much tougher Big East in 2013. It fired Matt Doherty last month after six seasons, and the Mustangs haven't won an NCAA tournament game since 1988, the year Brown led Kansas to the national championship.
"Larry Brown is one of the top coaches in the history of the game," Orsini said in the statement released by SMU. "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."
The 71-year-old Brown, the only coach to win an NBA championship and an NCAA title, hasn't coached since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats in December 2010 after the team's 9-19 start. His contract there was to run through the end of the current season.
His four-decade coaching career began 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.
SMU last went to the NCAA tournament in 1993, five years after beating Notre Dame in a first-round game.
Doherty was fired March 13 with one year left on his deal after the former North Carolina coach and player went 80-109 in six seasons. 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.
Brown has a reputation for impressive turnarounds and often messy departures from teams. When Michael Jordon hired him in Charlotte, Brown had been out of coaching for two years after going only 23-59 in his only season in New York and being let go by the Knicks.
Brown has held a record nine NBA jobs. His record with Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, Philadelphia, Detroit, the Knicks and Charlotte is 1,098-904 (.548 winning percentage), and he took all of those teams but New York to the playoffs. Add in his four seasons coaching in the ABA, and his 1,327 victories put him nine shy from passing Don Nelson for the most all-time wins.
Brown led Detroit to an NBA championship in 2004, and the Pistons got back to the Finals in 2005 before losing to San Antonio in seven games.
Even during that second Eastern Conference championship season in Detroit, reports linked Brown to jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Denver. The Cleveland Cavaliers had talked with Brown about becoming their president of basketball operations after getting permission from the Pistons.
Within weeks after that season ended, Brown and the Pistons reached a settlement on the final three years of his contract that left him free to coach another team. He then went to the Knicks.
His longest tenure with any team was six seasons with Philadelphia. He had left the 76ers with two years left on his contract to go to Detroit.
He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 2002.
Information from ESPN.com's Jason King and Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.