ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

From Kansas To SMU......24 Years Later

Updated on April 24, 2012

In 1988 Larry Brown won the National Championship as coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. Danny Manning was on that team and given the content of my last article "The Culture Of Losing", I now have so much to talk about with Larry Brown accepting the coaching position at SMU. SMU stands for Southern Methodist University. Let's get that out of the way first because I know many of you out there have never heard of the place. But there are some of us who were alive in the 80's who might remember that 1988 was also the last time the Mustangs(yes i had to answer that one too) won an NCAA Tournament game. I couldn't tell you, however, the name of anyone on that team or any SMU team since. So SMU goes with Larry Brown to try and attract first rate recruits to Dallas(admit it some of you were still asking "Where is SMU?"). The last time Larry Brown was relevant in coaching was in 2005 when he coached the Detroit Pistons to the NBA finals. The high school players he will be trying to recruit were 11 years old or younger at that time and many of them living in Texas or surrounding states. I think it's safe to say that not one of them was aware who the coach of the Pistons was in 2005. The point being that the name Larry Brown no longer has the appeal it once did long ago in the college game, ESPECIALLY at a school which has been so bad at basketball for so long.

Not to mention the fact that SMU is about to join the Big East Conference in 2013. Forgetting for the moment the absurdity of having a school from Texas in a conference called "Big East", let's look at some of SMU's future competitors. They include Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia, and Connecticut. SMU will be lucky to win 12 games each of its first two years in that conference and that's only if they pad their non-conference schedule with the weakest teams they play in their current conference. Three years is all I give Larry Brown at SMU. Why? Let's look at his history.

Larry Brown has been a completely predictable character in the pro coaching ranks. He finds a team with talent, coaches them as best he can until he loses patience with the egos and bad attitudes, and then leaves for someplace where he can do it again. The difference with this endeavor is HE HAS NO TALENT TO BEGIN WITH. Referring to my article from last week, the early 90's was when Brown missed his chance to really leave his imprint on the pro game. After bailing out on the San Antonio Spurs(yes the pattern began right there), he was hired by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992 with none other than Danny Manning on the team. Granted the huge mistake of taking Danny Ferry in 1989 had already set them back astronomically, but Charles Smith was still there and the opportunity to fix what was wrong was still possible. But what did Brown do just a year and half later? He gave up on the project and left for the Indiana Pacers. The best Manning could do the rest of his career was win "Sixth Man Of The Year" with the Phoenix Suns, coming nowhere close to the expectations of a number one overall pick. I'm sure Danny Manning is still working on a letter to coach Brown which probably goes something like this......"thanks coach for letting my pro career melt into a puddle of mediocrity."


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • brandonvand profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      You are right when you say it begs the question "who should have SMU hired?". I encourage you to look at my article "The Billy Gillespie Syndrome". A few years back Texas A&M was really no better off than SMU is now in terms of basketball. They were simply awful. And an "up and coming" coach as you call it named Billy Gillespie took over and made MONUMENTAL progress. But after putting A&M on the brink of greatness he left for Kentucky and now Texas A&M is headed toward awful again. What I'm driving at is even if someone magically turns around SMU(Brown or otherwise), they'll leave shortly thereafter. But I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT see it happening.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      I couldn't tell from your article if you were critical of SMU for hiring Brown or of Larry Brown for wanting to coach there, but you clearly think it is a bad match. Part of the problem is that there are perhaps 250 coaches in Division I basketball that don't deserve their jobs, at least if the primary criteria for being a good coach is winning on a national level. These "lesser" coaches might build character and turn players into solid citizens with the opportunity to create a good life for themselves. If that is the goal of the school's basketball program, there is no problem. If the goal is to win games against top tier schools and compete for a national championship, there are only 20-25 schools and coaches equipped to do this, which is partially (but not solely) why the same few teams win the NCAA championship every year. When a team is looking to upgrade, they might try ANY link to success they can find, which is what SMU seemingly did in hiring Larry Brown. It begs the question of who SMU should have hired if not Brown. Who is out there that would be willing to take the job and give them a better chance of winning in the Big East? Up-and-coming coaches won't do it, so the program is either forced to look at guys on the downhill side of their career (which SMU did with Brown) or hope they can find a coaching talent unrecognized (as was the case with Butler and VCU).

      Larry Brown is probably still a sound basketball teacher and strategist, and his assistant coach (Tim Jankovich) might just be that up-and-coming coach willing to toil away at SMU. Since he is the "coach-in-waiting", that seems to be the eventual hopes SMU is hanging their hat on.

      Brown has actually lured two transfers to the program--one from Illinois (Crandall Head, a top 100 player) and another from Villanova (Markus Kennedy). They were in the hunt for Arizona's Josiah Turner, but apparently Turner didn't want to go to class, no matter where he enrolled. Highly touted twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison have SMU on their list of schools they are interested in and no one has raised eyebrows at this choice, so it isn't impossible to believe that Brown's reputation as a teacher and a winner might still be working for him.

      Your article switched gears and seemed an indictment of Brown's professional coaching career, but he was better than most, even if his habits were predictable. He didn't ruin Danny Manning's career--multiple injuries to Manning's knees robbed him of his chance to be great. I would still take Brown over most of the guys coaching in the NBA today.

      It may sound as if I am critical of your article, but I am not. I agree that selecting Larry Brown for coach of SMU, especially given his track record, is questionable. I also think Brown's chances of success on the level he is accustomed to are slim, as you noted. I believe that SMU is rolling the dice in the hopes that Brown's name adds much-needed notoriety to the school--even if the players he is recruiting never heard of him.

      Thanks for a very thought-provoking article. I will definitely read more of your work.



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)