Larry Brown was born September 14, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York. Brown played basketball at the University of North Carolina and after graduation continued to play in the American Basketball Association (ABA). Brown played for the New Orleans Buccaneers (1968), the Oakland Oaks (1969), the Washington Caps (1970), the Virginia Squires (1971), and the Denver Rockets (1971-1972). He was a part of the 1969 ABA Championship team and went to the 1964 Olympics where he and his teammates won the gold medal.
Brown began his coaching career the year after his retirement from playing basketball. He was hired to coach at Davidson College, but only stayed the summer before accepting a coaching position at the Carolina Cougars, an ABA team. In 1974 Brown coached the Denver Nuggets who began as an ABA team, but in 1976 made the transition to an NBA team. In 1979 Brown became the head coach at the University of California – Los Angles, but in 1981 went back to the NBA to coach for the New Jersey Nets. From 1983 to 1988 Brown coached at the University of Kansas and in 1988 led the team to an NCAA basketball championship. In 1988 Brown took a job with the San Antonio Spurs, but some speculate the reason for the move was the NCAA sanctions that were imposed on the University of Kansas the following year, which prevented them from competing in the 1989 NCAA tournament. Following the Spurs, Brown coached for the Los Angles Clippers (1992-1993), Indiana Pacers (1993-1997), and Philadelphia 76ers (1997-2003). In 2003 Brown became the head coach for the Detroit Pistons and in 2004 the Pistons won the NBA Championship. Brown has also coached the New York Knicks (2005-2006), Charlotte Bobcats (2008-2010), and in 2012 accepted the head coaching position at Southern Methodist University.
Brown has won many awards during his long coaching career: he was a three-time ABA coach of the year (1973, 1975, and 1976), NBA coach of the year (2001), Naismith College Coach of the Year (1988), USA Basketball National Coach of the Year (1999), and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2002). Brown is also the only coach to win a championship in both the NCAA (Kansas 1988) and NBA (Detroit 2004). Brown also was the head coach to the 2004 bronze medal U.S. Olympic team.
Entry: Brown, Larry
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: May 2012
Date Modified: July 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.