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Archive for Tuesday, June 22, 1993

VAGABOND BROWN

June 22, 1993

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To the editor:

Larry Brown has left his latest job as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, prompting some aspiring writer with a title for a forthcoming biography on Brown called, ''Travels and Travails with Larry: The Ironic Dilemma of a Coaching Marvel.''

In all the commentary on Brown, his wandering has and will probably always be the focal point by which he is judged. The former Lawrence icon counters that it is not just him, that other coaches like Rick Pitino frequently change their addresses. Brown can argue until Kansas State wins the national championship, but the fact is his actions have only magnified his nomadic reputation. Consequently and sadly, his ability as one of the great teachers and tacticians on the sidelines may never be fully appreciated. Brown remains trapped in a perpetual ironic dilemma, always searching for that perfect job, and always wondering why he is perceived as the most legendary and best-dressed vagabond in basketball.

How ironic it is -- to a man whose whole life is seemingly a myriad of ironies -- that when Brown arrived in Kansas 10 years ago, his first move was retaining Bob Hill as assistant coach. Now a decade later, Brown finds himself taking over for the fired Hill as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, an organization that showed no loyalty to Hill after extending his contract in mid-season, and disregarding his success in rejuvenating a struggling franchise.

If Brown fails to join the NBA elite within two or three years at Indiana, he will probably exit to his next stop, wherever that may be. Brown says he wants to finish his coaching career in the high school ranks. Maybe then when he's coaching 2A ball in North Carolina, Chicago or New York, and he has no more places to run from and to, he will finally teach and coach the game he has always loved at peace with himself. Brown will be the true father figure he has longed to become, serving as a savior to the impressionable and lost youth in need of guidance and hope, using basketball as a tool and metaphor for life.

In the process, he'll win a lot of games and hearts, mesmerize the players and community with his charisma and coaching mastery, and hopefully, he will at last receive the full credit he deserves as being -- to borrow a Brownism -- a ''special'' coach who made his players better.

David Garfield,

539 Ohio, No. 3.

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