The Hall of Fame coach made it public knowledge a few weeks ago that he would be interested in the job opening and reaffirmed that desire last Saturday night on NBA TV, where he was a guest analyst.
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at SMU," Brown said in a statement released Thursday. "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."
Brown, 71, has coached a combined 13 teams (NCAA, ABA, NBA) and led eight different NBA squads to the playoffs. He boasts a 1,275-965 record in the ABA and NBA and went 177-61 at the collegiate level. Brown is the only coach to have won championships in both the NCAA (Kansas in 1988) and NBA (Detroit Pistons in 2004).
"Larry Brown is one of the top coaches in the history of the game," SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said in a statement. "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."
University President R. Gerald Turner added: "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. 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 comes from the North Carolina coaching tree, having played under Dean Smith in the late ‘60s. Among the names that have served on Brown's myriad staffs are John Calipari, Bill Self, Mark Turgeon and Gregg Popovich.
Many worry that since Brown has not coached in the NCAA since '88 (hasn't coached period since the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010) and so much has changed in the college game that he wouldn't be able to have success rebuilding this program as its heads to the Big East in 2013.
Not to mention his age has been quite the talking point.
But Brown clearly knows how to amass talented staffs and SMU is reportedly expected to hire Illinois State's Tim Jankovich as coach-in-waiting, former Illinois assistant/recruiting stud Jerrance Howard and Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland.
Though no final numbers have been released, Brown is expected to make near $1.75 million per year and Jankovich could earn upward of $800,000, according to several sources.
Doherty was making $500,000 annually.
Last week, it appeared St. Louis' Rick Majerus was the leading candidate to take this job. But despite SMU's efforts to double his salary to $2 million per year, it was another swing and another miss for Orsini, consultant David Braine and Co., who failed to lure away Marquette's Buzz Williams, Harvard's Tommy Amaker and Long Beach State's Dan Monson, too.
Other names to have surfaced during this hunt were Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton, Marquette assistant coach Tony Benford, Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg and Indiana assistant Steve McClain.
Brown interviewed for the job Sunday and Monday, ESPN broke the news on Tuesday, but SMU and Brown's agent Joe Glass did not finalize the contract until Thursday.
Brown replaces Doherty, who was fired on March 13 after finishing his sixth season on the Hilltop 13-19, 4-13 Conference USA. Doherty went 80-109 in his tenure at SMU (170-190 as a head coach) and was 0-6 all-time in the C-USA Tournament.
Doherty had one more year left on his contract.
Brown doesn't have a squeaky clean record by any means as he's had run-ins with the NCAA on two occasions—while at UCLA, a Final Four appearance was vacated and when he left Kansas after winning the title in '88, the program went on NCAA probation.
SMU, which hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 1993, will play one more season in C-USA before heading to the Big East in 2013. In additional excitement, Moody Coliseum will undergo a $40 million-plus renovation that is scheduled to begin this August.
Brown inherits a young team with talent that needs to be developed. With the exception of losing senior Robert Nyakundi, the Mustangs return a lot of potential in rising sophomores Jalen Jones and Cannen Cunningham, junior Shawn Williams and senior London Giles. SMU will also be getting three-star seven-foot center Blaise Mbargorba in addition to two stars Brian Bernardi and Uche Ofoegbu.
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