Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown is the new head men’s basketball coach at SMU. Brown arrives on the Hilltop as the only head coach to win both an NCAA title and an NBA Championship, having won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and an NCAA title with Kansas in 1988. Brown was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach on Sept. 27, 2002.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at SMU,” said Brown. “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 want to thank them all. I always thought of myself as a college coach, and this gives me a wonderful chance to get back where I started.”
“Larry Brown is one of the top coaches in the history of the game,” said SMU Director of Athletics Steve Orsini. “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.”
“From an educational perspective, hiring a teacher of the game like Larry Brown will make a huge impact on both our student-athletes and our community as a whole,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Athletics is an integral part of SMU, and developing a winning basketball program will dramatically increase our national profile, while providing a rallying point for our students, alumni, faculty, staff and the city of Dallas.”
Brown is the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history with 1,098 career victories, and he led his teams to 18 playoff appearances, eight 50-win seasons, seven division titles, three conference championships and one NBA Championship. Brown most recently was head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats and guided the Bobcats to the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance in 2010. Charlotte was the eighth team he led to the postseason – an NBA record.
Brown began his coaching career in the ABA, where he led the Carolina Cougars from 1972-74 before taking the helm in Denver for two seasons. He continued with the Nuggets after their move to the NBA, before moving on to coach UCLA for two seasons. There, he led a freshman-dominated team to the 1980 NCAA title game before falling to Louisville.
After two years with the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, Brown began his tenure at Kansas in 1983, where he would go 135-44 in five seasons, leading KU to the 1988 NCAA Championship, Kansas’ first National Championship in 36 years. In all, Brown spent seven seasons on the collegiate level, two at UCLA and five at Kansas, leading his squads to three Final Four appearances and one NCAA title. He was named Naismith College Coach of the Year in 1988 and Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1986. His cumulative collegiate coaching record stands at 177-61 (.744).
At the pro level, Brown has served as head coach of the Bobcats, Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2001 and was named ABA Coach of the Year three times.
With such a long and successful career, Brown has developed an impressive coaching tree. Among those that have served on Brown’s staffs are John Calipari, Gregg Popovich, Bill Self and Mark Turgeon. Tad Boyle and Danny Manning and are among those who have played for Brown.
Brown played collegiately at North Carolina under legends Frank McGuire and Dean Smith and served as an assistant coach at UNC from 1965-67.
In Olympic competition, Brown was the head coach of the bronze medal-winning United States team at the 2004 Athens Games. He was an assistant coach for the 1980 Olympic squad that did not participate in the Moscow Games and for the 2000 team that won the gold medal in Sydney. As a player, Brown won a gold medal as a member of the 1964 U.S. squad at the Tokyo Games, where he was coached by Henry Iba. He is the only U.S. male to both play and coach in the Olympics.