Larry Brown resigns after 4 seasons as SMU’s coach

Stephen Hawkins
Associated Press
Larry Brown says he is resigning as SMU's basketball coach, ending a four-year run during which the Mustangs made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993 and then were banned from postseason play last season.

Former Pistons coach Larry Brown is leaving SMU after turning down a contract extension, ending a four-year run during which the Mustangs made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993 and then were banned from postseason play last season.

SMU athletic director Rick Hart said Friday that Brown had been offered a new deal through 2020.

“This morning, however, I was notified by his agent that he would be stepping down,” Hart said. “Coach Brown was able to accomplish so much in his four years on the Hilltop, including leading us to our first conference title since 1993. He has left his mark on SMU basketball, and we are thankful for what he’s done

Brown didn’t return messages left on his cellphone by the Associated Press.

The Hall of Fame coach had one season left on his contract and had repeatedly said how much he loved what he was accomplishing at SMU. Now 75, Brown had indicated late last season that he wanted to keep coaching.

Associate head coach Tim Jankovich will take over as head coach, as had been expected since he came to SMU with Brown in 2012 after serving five seasons as Illinois State head coach.

“I’m also thankful to the search committee that brought us coach Brown and for their plan that will allow us such a smooth transition to Tim Jankovich,” Hart said. “I have the utmost confidence in Tim based on both his coaching resume as well as my time working with him here on the Hilltop. I know he will keep our program among the nation’s elite, and I look forward to the seasons ahead.”

SMU was 25-5 last season, which came after the Mustangs won 27 games each of the previous two seasons.

But Brown was suspended for the first nine games last season for NCAA violations that also prevented the Mustangs from going to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA ruled last September that a former men’s basketball administrative assistant completed online course work for a student to meet NCAA initial eligibility standards and be admitted to the university. That was among infractions against the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs.

Guard Keith Frazier, the player in question, averaged 11.9 points in 10 games as a junior last season before leaving SMU and transferring to North Texas. SMU opted not to appeal the one-year postseason ban or Brown’s nine-game suspension. Jankovich was the acting head coach while Brown was out..

The Mustangs finished last season with only seven available scholarship players. They won their first 18 games, staying undefeated longer than another other Division I team, but were 7-5 over their final stretch.

Brown is the only coach to win NBA and NCAA titles. He held a record nine NBA jobs, and his only previous college jobs had been two seasons at UCLA (1979-81) and five at Kansas (1983-88).

The Jayhawks won the 1988 national championship with Danny Manning leading the way before Brown returned to the NBA as San Antonio’s coach. The Jayhawks were banned from postseason play the next season and placed on probation for recruiting violations that occurred during Brown’s tenure.

UCLA was 42-17 under Brown, but the Bruins’ runner-up finish in the 1980 NCAA Tournament was later vacated by the NCAA after two players were determined to be ineligible.