Larry Brown, the only coach to win college and National Basketball Association championships, has taken over Southern Methodist University’s basketball program as it prepares to join the Big East Conference.
Brown’s hiring was confirmed today in an e-mail from Brad Sutton, a spokesman for the Dallas-based school.
SMU is the 14th head coaching job for the 71-year-old Brown, who most recently led the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats before resigning 28 games into the 2010-11 season.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at SMU,” Brown said in a news release posted on the school’s website. “I always thought of myself as a college coach, and this gives me a wonderful chance to get back where I started.”
The Bobcats are among eight NBA franchises that Brown coached to playoff appearances. He was the league’s Coach of the Year in 2001 and led the Detroit Pistons to the NBA championship in 2004, 16 years after guiding the University of Kansas to the National Collegiate Athletic Association title.
Brown, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, succeeds Matt Doherty, who was fired as coach last month with an 80-109 mark in six seasons at SMU. The Mustangs, who haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 1993, will officially join the Big East in all sports on July 1, 2013, after competing in Conference USA.
The Big East sent nine schools to the NCAA tournament this season, one year after breaking its own record with 11 spots in the field.
“We have set a goal of top-25 status for our men’s basketball program and want to compete for Big East championships,” SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said last month when Doherty was dismissed.
Since his last college job with Kansas, Brown has coached the NBA’s Bobcats, New York Knicks, Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.
Brown, who played point guard under Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina and won a gold medal with the U.S. team at the 1964 Olympics, began his coaching career at Davidson College in 1972.
Brown then coached the American Basketball Association’s Carolina Cougars, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets, and UCLA before arriving at Kansas in 1983. He was voted the Naismith Coach of the Year in 1988 after leading the Jayhawks to the national title and has a 177-61 record as a collegiate coach. Brown has totaled 1,327 wins as an NBA and ABA coach.