Pen pals

June Jones called and texted Larry Brown everyday during the hiring process to assure him that SMU was the right job, opportunity for the Hall of Famer to take and that everything would work out

Larry Brown didn't help himself appear any younger when he jokingly said he didn't know how to text during Monday's introductory press conference.

The point of mention was when Brown was discussing his relationship with his football counterpart, June Jones.

The two spoke a lot over the last 30 days before SMU hired Brown as its new head basketball coach.

"I've become a great pen pal with June Jones," Brown said. "He called me everyday and he'd text me—I'm just learning how to text—and just tell me never to give up. He told me this thing is gonna turn around, you're gonna be here, things are going to work the right way.

"I'm a big football fan, a big June Jones fan, and I hope that I can follow in his footsteps and continue to make this program grow and have people proud of us all over the country."

Before we know it, Brown and Jones are going to be best friends. Maybe even golfing buddies. This hiring process has shown they're going to have each other's backs.

Before Brown went in for his interview with University President R. Gerald Turner and the Board of Trustees last week, Jones gave him the lowdown of what to expect from the meeting, as he's been in that hot seat before.

"June sent me at 4 a.m. a scouting report on everyone who was going to be in that room," Brown said. "I figure it was his persistence that kept me in the mix. I'm pretty thankful for that."

Jones' scouting report was sent via text message, which Brown thought funny because again, he isn't text-savvy. He did admit he knows that in this day and age of college basketball, he will need to sharpen his skills though.

"That's going to be a chapter in my book one day," the Hall of Fame coach said, laughing.

Earlier Monday morning at football practice, Jones was a little more coy about his contact with Brown. He did express his excitement for the hire, though, calling it a "wow factor."

"He's won at every level," Jones said. "He's a great character guy and I just think he is gonna teach us how to get to that level and that's what we gotta do."

Brown has the utmost respect for Jones and was so thankful to receive advice from a guy who's been there, doing that.

"He was so positive about everything," Brown said. "Obviously he got us in the Big East, but he just thought everything was right there for us to be successful. He said, ‘If you get kids on campus, they're going to come here.' He said, ‘There's great facilities, great leadership in president Turner and Steve Orsini and they all want to see SMU be successful.' He didn't see any downside. He thought of all the places I'd been, this was the greatest opportunity I would ever have and I think he was right."

Not sure if everyone would go that far, but there's no question there is quite an opportunity for Brown at SMU—to rebuild a program and make it competitive in the nation's top basketball conference. It's going to be challenging, but the 71-year-old who is figuring out text messaging, is up for it.

"I miss being around kids, being around coaches," Brown said. "When I was at UCLA, we camped out before games because kids were fighting to get into the arena. When I was at KU, we used to eat pizza and coffee with the student body before games. I miss that. I want to be at June's practices. I want to be at every event I can be at. This gives me the opportunity."

For more SMU coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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