Why SMU’s Headline Hire of Larry Brown Could Actually Work Out

Posted by EJacoby on April 23rd, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

It’s been almost a full week since Southern Methodist officially hired Larry Brown to become the Mustangs’ new head coach, creating major headlines from a school that hasn’t had much to show from its program’s entire basketball history. The question surrounding the hire remains — Does SMU really expect Brown to turn around the program, or is the hire simply intended to draw publicity to a team in desperate need of some attention? We tend to think that the primary motive was the latter, but that it also just might be a smart move for the SMU program at this point in time.

Why Him? Hall of Famer Larry Brown (and his Assistants) are a Smart Hire for SMU (AP Photo/N. Raymond)

Larry Brown is in the Basketball Hall of Fame with a decorated legacy that includes being the only coach to win both an NCAA (Kansas) and NBA (Detroit) championship, but he hasn’t coached in the college ranks in nearly 25 years. At 71 years old, and with a track record of bolting from head coaching positions early in his tenure, why is there any reason to expect that Brown will be capable of turning around a struggling college program? The truth of the matter is there probably isn’t. College basketball is not what it was back in 1988 when he won a title for Kansas. There are now over 340 Division I teams, many of which have come to expect postseason success given the widespread parity that the sport has developed. The fact that SMU hasn’t qualified for an NCAA Tournament since 1993 doesn’t give Brown any slack either — the school is headed for the Big East in two seasons and desperately needs to turn things around in a hurry.

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Billy D… isney World?

Posted by rtmsf on May 31st, 2007

Billy Donovan 

Breaking news on all the major sites today is that Billy Donovan has been offered $42M over seven years to leave the University of Florida to become the new head coach of the Orlando Magic.  According to team officials, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the wunderkind is expected to take the job.  This comes on the heels of a week-plus of speculation as to why Donovan had not yet signed an extension worth reported $3.5M annually with the Gators.

We’ve been down this road before with Billy D. - a mere six weeks ago, in fact.  But somehow with the ridiculous dollars being mentioned and the “nowhere to go but down” aspect looming at Florida, we think this might be the situation where he makes the jump.  The Magic certainly isn’t in terrible shape, with a young beast Dwight Howard and, lest we forget, JJ Redick, to build around. 

From our perspective, this would also change the balance of power in the SEC in a hurry.  Florida has the #1 ranked recruiting class coming into Gainesville, but it’s apparent that the new blood at Tennessee and Kentucky are hot on its tail.  The big question for us – who would take over for Billy D.?  Would the Gators gamble Stan Heath-style with one-year wonder Anthony Grant from VCU?  Or speaking of Heath, would the Gators make a play for former recruiter extraordinaire and current Arkansas coach John Pelphrey?  Or would they go outside the family and find someone like Gregg Marshall from Winthrop?  Stay tuned… 

Update:  Yahoo.com is now reporting Donovan will be introduced as the Orlando Magic head coach tomorrow morning at 9am.  Terms are $28.5M over five years. 

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