Larry Brown has been named the head men’s basketball coach at SMU. He arrives on the Hilltop as the only head coach to win both an NCAA title and an NBA Championship. Brown was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002.
“I always wanted to coach at a great school academically and in a great conference to compete for a national championship with high-type kids,” Brown told a gathering of alumni, students, faculty and staff at the announcement April 23. “That opportunity has presented itself – everything I thought about is right here (at SMU). President Turner and I are on the same page – we want excellence in academics and excellence in athletics.”
“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 led his teams to 18 playoff appearances, eight 50-win seasons, seven division titles, three conference championships and one NBA Championship. He most recently served as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, whom he guided to the franchise’s first playoff appearance in 2010.
Brown began his coaching career in the American Basketball Association, 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. 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. He would go 135-44 in five seasons, leading KU to the 1988 NCAA Championship, Kansas’ first national title in 36 years. In all, Brown spent seven seasons at the collegiate level, 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.
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 U.S. 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 with the U.S. squad at the Tokyo Games in 1964. He is the only U.S. male to both play and coach in the Olympics.