Friday, July 29, 2005

Larry Brown in CandyLand

                       Larry Brown's days as a point guard for the University...

Despite the nomad coaching existence Larry Brown has led....I won't bash him.  Why not?  He's a Tar Heel.  Here is a pic of Brown in his North Carolina garb around 1960-1963.  He was an All-ACC player in 1963 and won the gold medal in the 1964 Olympics [he played AAU for Akron after he graduated].  A few years after his playing days were over...he got his first coaching job as Dean Smith's assistant for 2 seasons.

Larry Brown then went on to the ABA for 5 years....each year playing for a new team.  He was a New Orleans Buccaneer, Oakland Oak, Washington Capitol, Virginia Squire and Denver Nugget before retiring in 1972.  He was a 3-time ABA All Star [even won the 1968 All Star MVP Award] and won a title with the Oaks. 

The very next season, he began his head coaching career with the Carolina Cougars.  In his two years in Carolina, Brown was 104-64 and won Coach Of the Year in 1972-1973...his first as a head coach.  In 1974, the Cougars relocated to St. Louis....but Brown didn't go with them.  The next 5 years...he was the head coach of the Denver Nuggets as they dominated the ABA and merged into the NBA [along with the Nets, Pacers and Spurs] after the 1975 season.    He won 2 more Coach Of the Year awards in the ABA.

                                  Larry Brown's first head coaching position was with...

From there...Larry Brown entered back into the college game.  He took over as head coach of the UCLA Bruins, a very stressful job as the long shadow of John Wooden still dominated that position.  Brown lasted just two seasons...including one that ended in the NCAA title game...before stepping down. 

He went back into the NBA...taking over the former ABA New Jersey Nets.  The Nets struggled with their move into the NBA....but Brown still guided them to 2 playoff appearances. 

So...back to college.  The University of Kansas.  Upon taking the job...Brown gave his now familiar "this is where I want to stay" speeches that didn't last.  His legend did...with a 135-33 record and he led the Danny Manning starred Jayhawk team to the 1988 National Championship.  He stepped down weeks later. 

Back to the NBA to stay.  First with the San Antonio Spurs...another former ABA club.  The Spurs were a bad team, but had David Robinson arriving as soon as his Naval commitment was up.  He did last 4 seasons in San Antonio...though he couldn't lift the Spurs to the Western Conference perch vacated by the Lakers.  After leaving the Spurs in 1992...he spent less than 2 seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.  But, hey, he did guide the lowly Clips into the playoffs!!!

A month after Brown resigned in LA...he became the Indiana Pacers head coach [the 4th ABA/NBA team].  He again wanted to make this his "last stop".  In his 4 years in Indiana...the Pacers were at their highest point in franchise history.  They routinely battled the New York Knicks or Orlando Magic or Chicago Bulls for the right to play in the NBA Finals.  He just couldn't get them over the hump.  He quit again in 1997 [Larry Bird would take over and get the Pacers to the 2000 NBA Finals].

                              Philadelphia became Brown's next home in '97, when...

He then took over as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.  In my mind, despite coaching David Robinson and Reggie Miller...the NBA player he will most likely be linked to is Allen Iverson.  A love-hate relationship formed...but the Sixers were winning.  Brown finally got the NBA's biggest stage with an appearance in the 2001 NBA Finals [where he lost in 5 games to the Lakers].  In May 2003, he resigned.

A month later, he was in Detroit to coach the Pistons.  He put the capper on his NBA resume by becoming the only coach to win an NCAA Championship ]1998, Kansas] and NBA Championship [2004, Detroit].  In both his seasons, he took the Pistons to the NBA Finals.  He's in the NBA Hall Of Fame.  He was the head coach of the 2004 USA Olympic Basketball team.  

Now he has his "dream job" of coaching the New York Knicks.

So...is it over now?  With health issues....you'd think that New York would be his last stop.  But, you'd think winning rings with Detroit would have sufficed.  Who knows?  If his hip holds up and his teaching bug still bites...Brown may be coming to a gym near you.

2 comments:

monponsett said...

"Leaving Town" Larry Brown will have coached in some capacity in Rhode Island, Montana, and New Mexico in some capacity by 2010.

apratt6436 said...

the pistons blew it. they should have gotten the ball to rashid more, and rashid should have been less passive and more assertive.

larry brown is a wonderful person and a great coach