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SMU Basketball Coach Larry Brown On The Latest Chapter Of His Storied Career

Doualy Xaykaothao
Larry Brown has coached for 10 NBA teams and three college programs.

Update, Monday, 6:05 p.m.: SMU did not make it into the NCAA tournament despite a top 25 ranking. The Mustangs host an NIT game against California-Irvine Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

Our original post: Larry Brown has had a singular career in the basketball world. He’s coached 10 NBA teams and three college squads, and he’s the only coach ever to win both the NCAA and pro titles. And just weeks before the Final Four comes to North Texas, he took his latest reclamation project, SMU, into the top 25 for the first time in nearly three decades.

Brown sat down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for a Friday Conversation.

Interview Highlights: Larry Brown on…

…SMU coming this far, this fast:

“I kind of felt everything was in place if we did our part, but the fact that we’ve been able to play well and be lucky enough to recruit some really quality kids and get some good transfers, it gave us the chance to be good. We’re very fortunate, we have a great facility, but if you didn’t have a good team, all you’d have is a pretty building.”

…SMU basketball’s new student fan energy:

“When you’re a college coach, to see the students involved with your program and excited about it is really something that I missed. You had that at UCLA and Kansas and North Carolina but you had that because of the tradition and the fact that they’ve been so successful. But to see it happen here and to go places and people tell you they’re thrilled for our school, that’s something that I didn’t realize would happen, but I’m happy I’m part of that.”

…Recruiting for SMU’s program:

“Well, when you consider I was at North Carolina, UCLA and Kansas, you don’t have to really recruit because those programs sell themselves. But I don’t mind doing that at SMU, because I think this is a great place to go to school and play ball.”

…Whether he’s still got the itch to coach in the NBA:

“No. At one time I would’ve been thrilled to take any job, to be involved with basketball in any capacity. But as long as I feel like we’re making a difference and I’m helping this sport and the people are comfortable here at SMU with me being a part of this, I don’t see any reason to leave.”

Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.