Former Kansas coach Larry Brown, 80, is back in college hoops as an assistant

    Former Kansas Jayhawks men basketball coach Larry Brown is returning to the sidelines in college basketball, this time as an assistant coach at Memphis.

    LAWRENCE — Former Kansas men’s basketball coach Larry Brown on Thursday was named assistant coach at the University of Memphis — the same day he accepted the 2021 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the National Basketball Coaches Association.

    Brown, the only coach to lead teams to the ncaa (ku, 1988) and nba (detroit pistons, 2004) titles, last served as head coach in 2018. he coached 24 games for auxilium torino, a professional team based in italy. Brown will train with Penny Hardaway, who is entering her fourth year in charge of the Tigers.

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    “Penny’s been talking to me for a few years since she got the job about possibly joining them one day,” Brown said Thursday in an interview on

    “I wanted to get back into training. I’m not very good at being inactive,” added brown, who turns 81 in September. “i have been so lucky to coach great players and have great coaches sitting next to me and playing for so many amazing coaches that i feel like i want to share what they have taught me with little kids. i think a lot about people now being scared to coach kids small. But I think young people want that, as long as they trust you. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.”

    A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Brown has worked as an assistant only once. He was a member of Hall of Famer Dean Smith’s North Carolina coaching staff from 1965 to 1967.

    Brown fills the job vacated by Tony Madlock, who left Memphis to become head coach at South Carolina State in March.

    “I’m so excited that penny has given me this opportunity to work with young children and hopefully make an impact on their lives on and off the court. I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m excited.” “, Brown said Thursday.

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    “He (hardaway) suddenly goes from aau (coach) to memphis where he was an amazing player and I’ve watched his teams. I think he’s won 20 games almost every year, he won the nit (this ) year. but more than his success in terms of record, i just hear amazing things about what he preaches, the character of the kids he trains and what he expects of them i just want to sit next to him and share what was taught and learn from him as well .”

    hardaway is 63-32 in three seasons in memphis.

    “Coach Brown is a legend, and his knowledge of basketball is truly amazing,” Hardaway said Thursday. “I couldn’t be more excited to add someone of his caliber to our program. Ever since I played for him with the (New York) Knicks (in 2005-06), I’ve soaked up his wisdom whenever I could. He will have tremendous impact on our student-athletes and everyone within our program.”

    brown last worked as a collegiate head coach in 2016 when he resigned after four seasons at smu. he also coached five seasons at ku, winning the national title in 1988. he coached at ucla for two seasons from 1979-81. His 1980 UCLA team fell to Louisville in the NCAA title game. overall, he went 266-99 in 11 seasons as a college head coach.

    Brown has also been the head coach of the Carolina Cougars and the Denver Nuggets of ABA. He has been the head coach of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets). He is the only coach in NBA history to lead eight different franchises to the playoffs. Overall, he went 1098-904 in 30 NBA seasons.

    He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was inducted into Kansas City College Hall in 2006.

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    “I was coaching as (both) an assistant coach and a first-year coach in North Carolina. That’s when you only had two assistants,” Brown told “When I got my first job at the ABA, it was me and Doug Moe. And they called me head coach, but I never felt that way. Doug and I have known each other for so long it was a collaboration. Sometimes it was like frick and frack, but it’s still an interesting experience. i trained with usa basketball as an assistant a few times. and then in 2000 with rudy tomjanovich in sydney.

    “but i’ve called several people who are assistants since i spoke with penny, trying to get an idea of ​​how i could better serve her and help the kids. it’s going to be a work in progress, but i have so much respect for penny and what he brings to the table, that I will do my best to do what he expects of me, and try to be a loyal assistant coach,” Brown added.

    brown in recent years has closely followed the college game. He is often invited to watch practices for various teams, including some of his former students: Bill Self (Ku), Tad Boyle (Colorado), John Calipari (Kentucky), Mark Turgeon (Md.), and Danny Manning (now a maryland assistant, former head coach at tulsa and wake forest).

    for ku fans, brown will always be known for coaching the jayhawks to the ncaa crown. ku defeated oklahoma 83-79 in the title game on april 4, 1988 at kemper arena.

    “All my life I’ve been trying to find ways to share with coaches,” Brown said. “I think it’s important for all of us to open up and share what we know because you just want to make the game better and you want the kids to be better.

    “it’s going to be fun. i can’t wait to smell the gym. the games for me are a bit difficult due to the anxiety i have. i will always worry if you have prepared your team for anything that might happen. once As the game starts, I’m fine. But before that game, it’s a bit stressful.

    “I watched Pete Newell give clinics after his degree was over and share ideas,” Brown continued. “I saw tex winter, johnny bach and pete lane in the nba as assistant coaches. they were older. and i think the people they work for understood what they brought. i remember coach smith bringing dick harp to carolina: he had played for dick harp and phog allen. so this is good for me to follow in their footsteps with penny.”

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