Larry Brown and SMU: If Mustangs Hire Legend, He'll Leave Them High and DryApril 15, 2012
This is Larry Brown's MO.
He takes a job, gets the team to overachieve, because after all—he is a hell of a coach. Then just as the program or organization gains momentum, he checks out.
It's genuinely because he doesn't relate well to young players.
Hey, I've got a great idea, let's let Larry the nomad go coach on the collegiate level again. That's an awesome way to get him away from those youngsters.
I understand the lure of possibly hiring a hall-of-fame head coach. I especially get it when you're talking about a program that many didn't even know competed outside of helmets.
Still—I strongly caution SMU and their fan base, all 100 of them—when getting excited about this potential hire.
Larry Brown doesn't leave programs or organizations in better shape after he's gone.
Seeing as though you'll likely only get two years out of him tops—is it really worth it?
First off, he's 71 years old. Even the healthiest coach at that age doesn't figure to be in for the long grind of a college basketball season for an extended period.
That would be the case, even if we weren't talking about Brown, who has had 10 coaching positions over the last 30 years.
The longest he has stayed at any of those jobs was six years with the Philadelphia 76ers. Brown has had success just about everywhere he's ever coached. That is evidenced by his tremendous combined NBA and collegiate coaching record of 2515-1388.
There is no question what Brown will do on the sidelines; the question is what will SMU do when Brown leaves?
In the year after Brown departs, teams without stellar talent have struggled mightily, and Brown leaves no lifeline when he exits.
The L.A. Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers were a combined 60-114 the year after Brown departed. We can all see what's happening to the Charlotte Bobcats, whom Brown coached for a little over two seasons, ending in 2010-11.
All three of these teams thrived because of Brown's system and attention to defense, as none of them had proven stars.
The same thing will happen with SMU, as they aren't likely to recruit players like Shabazz Muhammad or Nerlens Noel anytime soon. The Mustangs will overachieve, but what happens when he leaves?
They'll return to the doldrums and obscurity their program is in currently. SMU is a combined 44-50 over the past three seasons, and they are desperately looking for a spark.
The Mustangs would be better off hiring a young coach that can grow with the program. Brown will only tease them with success, and by the time anyone gets to enjoy it, he'll have moved on.
It's true, Brown hasn't coached in the collegiate ranks for 24 years—maybe things will be different.
If I were making the decision, I wouldn't bet on that being the case. Here's to a 18-win season in 2012-13, just missing the NCAA tournament, followed by a surprising 20-win season in 2013-14 with a tournament berth.
Fired up, right?
April 2014 headline reads: Brown steps down at SMU.
What's the point?
SMU should steer clear of Brown.