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SMU And Larry Brown: To The Big East Together?

Could Larry Brown resurrect the SMU basketball program? A brief discussion of how his potential hiring could affect the Big East's newest member.

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Larry Brown is old. At 71, the only coach to win both an NCAA and NBA title would be the oldest coach in the Big East, and maybe the entire NCAA. But if ex-head coach Matt Doherty's coaching career has taught us anything, it's that youth doesn't necessarily equal wins.

The biggest obstacle to SMU's building a basketball power has been their inability to recruit their own backyard in Dallas. If a coaching legend like Larry Brown -- who has coached the likes of Allen Iverson and Danny Manning -- showed up at high school games, it would cause a stir. His mere presence would create excitement. It would alter the tone of every high school gym he stepped into.

That is the same effect his hiring would have on the SMU basketball program. Granted, Larry Brown has been a coaching nomad throughout his career. But this program needs a spark now. With a move to the Big East, the Mustangs have a real chance to generate some excitement. And bringing in Larry Brown would certainly do that.

Even if Brown's tenure lasts only 4 years, he'll be able to build a foundation for the program. He'll demand the attention of recruits with his stature and the visibility that comes with a move to the Big East. More than anything else, hiring Larry Brown would force SMU into the minds of recruits and fans everywhere.

But beyond that, let's not forget Larry Brown is a really good coach. The man bleeds basketball. While his loyalty has been (fairly) questioned, his dedication to the sport and his knowledge of it is unquestionable. The only real issue is whether he has the energy to give it his all.

Given his eagerness to get back in the game and SMU's serious interest in making him their new coach, it's hard to believe he doesn't. Some may call it headline chasing or label it a short-sighted move, but it's undeniably a 'statement' move. More importantly, it's a move that sets SMU basketball in the right direction.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.