Larry Brown leaves SMU in the most Larry Brown way possible
Larry Brown created NCAA issues and then resigned abruptly -- just like he did at UCLA and Kansas
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- In the end, it was all so predictable -- first the winning, then the NCAA scandal and, finally, the abrupt resignation that leaves a basketball program in an awkward spot.
Larry Brown followed the Larry Brown model step-by-step.
I'd say you outdid yourself but you really just did yourself.
A source told CBS Sports that Larry Brown texted the parents of SMU players early Friday to inform them that he's resigning after four seasons as the school's men's basketball coach. According to the source, Brown said he'd been in negotiations for a contract extension "for 20 months" but could not reach a deal and thus felt he had no choice but to resign. He apologized, the source said, and insisted this was never his plan. And Brown probably believes that. But this was always the way most figured his time at SMU would come to a close, if only because Brown has been leaving jobs abruptly after short stints literally since before I was born.
And I'm 39 years old.
This is, after all, the way Brown's career began -- considering his first head-coaching job was the Davidson job that he only kept for a few months and left before ever even coaching a game. And this will also be the way Brown's career likely ends -- unless somebody is interested in hiring a 75 year-old who just quit on his team during the worst possible time (i.e., the July Evaluation Period) for a college coach to quit.
But this was always the most likely time that he'd quit.
Brown famously hates recruiting. He's told me that both privately and publicly -- most notably when I hosted a charity event with him two years ago. So what better time to get fed up with your contract negotiations and walk away than two days into the July Evaluation Period that requires coaches to be on the road recruiting? No sense in resigning in May or June because you can, if you want, get away with not doing much in May or June and still collect those big paychecks. But in July you have to be out on the recruiting trail for a total of 15 days. So I'm not surprised by the timing at all, because Brown never liked being on the recruiting trail for 15 days.
And demanding a five-year extension from SMU -- which is what Brown was reportedly demanding -- is pretty brazen for a 75-year-old coach who spent nine games suspended last season, and whose team was banned from the 2016 NCAA Tournament, because of NCAA violations that happened on his watch. SMU would've been foolish to give Brown that five-year extension, and for two reasons: 1) It would've likely led coach-in-waiting Tim Jankovich to seek other opportunities, and 2) Larry Brown IS 75 YEARS OLD!
Do you realize the average life expectancy for an American male is 76?
That means Brown was demanding an extension to coach Division I basketball four years past the age at which the average American male dies. He was demanding a contract extension that would take him to the age of 80, and do you know how many men have successfully coached Division I basketball at 80?
To be clear, Larry Brown might've and could've been the first.
Nobody denies that.
But it would've been silly for SMU to give him that contract. And isn't it funny that Brown wanted a five-year extension that would've theoretically kept him at SMU for a total of nine straight seasons even though he's never coached anywhere in his life longer than six straight seasons?
So here we are, on a Friday in July, with Larry Brown having again left a job abruptly, with time still left on the contract he signed, less than five months after publicly stating it would be silly for him to walk away now, and with a third NCAA scandal on his resume. Again, it was all so predictable. Being the only man to coach an NCAA champion and NBA champion will be a big part of the Hall of Famer's legacy, to be sure. But this -- and the other times he did something very similar to this -- will likely be what most remember most.
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