Those who know Larry Brown figure the vagabond coach will return to college basketball next season.
Brown, who directed Kansas to the national championship in 1988, was fired as head coach of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.
"From conversations I had with him in the last six months, my guess is that is the direction he would go," KU athletic director Bob Frederick said Tuesday. "The last time I talked to him he said he was not happy in San Antonio."
That fact was confirmed by Brown's friend and business partner Doug Compton who believes Nevada-Las Vegas would be the perfect place for Brown. UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian is retiring after this season.
"HE HAD TOLD me not too long ago if things did not get better, he'd leave at the end of season," said Compton, a Lawrence businessman. "If Red (McCombs, owner) didn't want him there, he wouldn't be there. He was miserable the last two years in San Antonio. I know for a fact Larry wants to come back into college basketball."
That place could be Vegas.
"In San Antonio, if Larry does something out of the ordinary, everybody talks," Compton said. "I told Larry last week that would be the perfect job. I thought he could recruit there and win there. Roy Williams fits great at the University of Kansas, better than Larry ever would. A place like Las Vegas fits Larry perfectly. I planted the bug in his ear last year."
COMPTON SAID rumors that Brown would return to Lawrence to live for a spell are probably false.
"I don't think that'll happen. He'll probably go to Denver a while. Barbara (his former wife) lives there along with his friend Doug Moe," Compton said.
Compton says Brown then will likely consider college jobs as they open, unless of course, Vegas approaches him soon and wants to land a coach for next year.
"I'd lay my wallet that it will not not be anywhere close to the Big Eight," said Compton. "He has too much respect for Roy (Williams) and Bob and Kansas athletics.
"Larry loved Lawrence, Kan.," added Compton. "I go see him three or four times a year. I don't know how many times he said the biggest mistake he ever made was leaving Lawrence."
MOST AGREE the 51-year-old Brown will be a hot commodity again. He's worked at UCLA and Kansas as well as the Spurs, New Jersey Nets and both the ABA and NBA Denver Nuggets, plus the ABA Carolina Cougars.
"Being fired in pro sports doesn't mean one has done a bad job of coaching by any means," said Frederick. "Anybody around here knows Larry Brown is one of the best coaches at any level. Disagreements with owners can result in you being terminated."
Brown left KU on his own accord after winning the NCAA crown.
"Larry is a marvelous coach," KU Chancellor Gene Budig said. "We wish him both success and peace of mind. He's a unique talent. He brought basketball fans at the University of Kansas many exciting moments."