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Larry Brown introduced at SMU

April 24, 2012

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— Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown was formally introduced as SMU’s head coach on Monday at a news conference.

The 71-year-old Brown, who reportedly will receive $1.75 million a year for five years, was on the top of his game, cracking jokes with one of his pupils, invited guest Bill Self, and former SMU coach and fellow North Carolina graduate Matt Doherty, in attendance.

“When I look in the mirror, I get kind of scared. But inside, I feel like I can do this forever,” Brown said.

Brown is taking over a program that has revamped its facilities and has lots of top high school talent nearby. Standing outside the half-century-old Moody Coliseum, which is set to undergo $40 million in renovations, Brown said he saw the arena as “the same kind of facility” as Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke’s home court.

“Walking around this campus, if we can get a kid to visit here, I can’t imagine him going anywhere else,” Brown said.

Of his own contract, Brown noted: “I’ve always been overpaid, and this is no exception.”

Former KU assistant Doherty, who was fired after five seasons, said: “My biggest concern in this process was that they hire a good coach and a good person for my players and my recruits, because I care about those kids. And they did it.”

Brown, who met with SMU’s current players before the news conference with Doherty, quipped that among the changes in college athletics that he must adjust to is text messaging.

“I’m just learning how to text,” Brown said. “I think I’m going to have to get really proficient in that.”

Brown said that he filled in the current SMU players on his background, though they were blank when he mentioned he played for Frank McGuire and mentioned Henry Iba. He joked that he didn’t dare mention James Naismith, the inventor of the game.

Later, they did appear to get the longtime NBA coach’s reference to his famous spat with start Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson.

“I love practice,” Brown said then mimicked Iverson’s notorious press conference. “Practice. I’m talking about practice.”

As for his style of play, Brown said: “I want to play fast if we’re better. I want long athletic kids who want to guard. I want to get every loose ball that’s on the ground. I can’t play in multiple defenses so we’ll be man-to-man and we’ll pick you up in the airport.”

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