Matt Visinsky

Larry Brown put Larry Brown #1 by resigning from SMU

Larry Brown always says his No. 1 focus as a coach is his players. On the court, Brown was teacher and a perfectionist, but the college game is about off the court teaching just as much as on the court. That's where Brown failed to put his players first.

With the city of Dallas grieving after the attacks last Thursday night, Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown resigned from SMU on Friday morning amid contract extension talks due to an offer that Brown told the Dallas Morning News didn't allow him to, "be truthful with these kids anymore."

SMU's offer to Brown: a three-year contract extension through 2020 worth nearly $10 million including a $1.5 million retention bonus if Brown stayed through 2019.

Why couldn't Brown be truthful with kids anymore with that type of a deal?

Brown said it best, "we do things differently at SMU."

Under Brown, SMU was placed on three years probation by the NCAA, received a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season and Brown was suspended nine games.

One addition was made to SMU's contract offer to Brown. SMU wanted a clause that would allow SMU to fire Brown with cause if SMU was placed on NCAA probation or received a postseason ban again.

Fair? Most would say so.

Brown just can't guarantee that won't happen again.

Why? Because he failed during his time at SMU to truly care about players' success off the court.

Numerous players that have arrived at SMU have failed to graduate under Brown and sources have told Pony Stampede that it was a battle to get Brown to even encourage kids to go to class and do the work.

Keith Frazier, Justin Martin, Yanick Moreira and Markus Kennedy to name a few, are players that failed to graduate from SMU under Brown. Moreira and Kennedy were just two months from graduation, yet Brown failed to work hard to motivate them to work hard. 

SMU wanted Brown to improve off the court in this regard especially since the dreaded Academic Progress Rate that caused Connecticut to miss the NCAA Tournament a few years back was now a concern for SMU officials.

Brown wanted no part of that guarantee. 

As of Thursday, Brown had told officials he was not planning on resigning and was focused on negotiating with them, but then Friday morning, he dropped the news of his resignation by leaking it to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, sources told Pony Stampede. 

SMU was ready to take out the clause if Brown had gotten Kennedy to graduate. Brown had a whole year to do that as contract talks started before last season even with the NCAA sanctions.

Brown couldn't make it happen. It cost him a great amount of money and more success at SMU due to his own faults.

Tim Jankovich, now SMU's head coach, showed he was trying to right the ship of accountability for the team this fall as he suspended Ben Moore one game due to violations of team rules during Brown's nine-game suspension. That wouldn't have happened with Brown on the bench.

Under Jankovich, SMU is now poised to do something Brown couldn't do very well. Jankovich will graduate players. Jankovich will keep his team accountable off and on the court.

SMU hired Brown to revitalize the program and most thought Brown would be around 3-4 years and Jankovich would take over. That's what happened.

SMU's program on the court is better because of Larry Brown, but after years away from the college game, he had little intentions to make SMU better off the court. Something that is required of college coaches.

Brown has always said he puts his players No. 1. Players respect Brown for what he taught them on the court, but when you take a step back, he wasn't teaching one valuable lesson: accountability.

When SMU wanted to hold Brown accountable for the program on and off the court, he didn't want to be accountable. 

Brown is a Hall of Famer and one of the best coaches of all-time. He also cared very little about players' academic success.

It's no surprise Brown is leaving in controversy. It's about time though that someone put the players No. 1.

That's where Tim Jankovich will best his predecessor. The program can finally put drama and NCAA concerns behind them with Brown off the bench.

Brown always wanted the team to, "play the right way."

Jankovich will want more of his players. How?

They'll be his No. 1 focus on and off the court. That's a change. That's accountability. 

That's why Jankovich will get more out of his team. Something Brown only worried about on the court.

Off the court, Larry Brown was always about Larry Brown.

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