Former Philadelphia 76ers Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown has picked up a new gig.
The 80-year-old Sixers legend agreed to become an assistant coach for the University of Memphis men’s basketball team, according to reports on Wednesday night.
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Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway spent the first six seasons of his NBA career with the Orlando Magic and reportedly interviewed for the team’s head coaching vacancy last week, but decided to stay with Memphis for the upcoming season, which will be his fourth with the program. Brown began building his Hall of Fame coaching resumé – he was inducted in 2002 – with the University of North Carolina from 1965 to 1967, where he was an assistant under legend Dean Smith.
That was the last time Brown held an assistant role.
The Last Time Brown Was an Assistant Coach, Hardaway Wasn’t Born Yet
Brown’s five-year ABA playing career included three All-Star appearances and ended in 1972. Between 1972 and 2016, Brown was the head coach of 13 different teams at the NCAA, ABA and NBA levels.
He is the only coach in history to win both a men’s college basketball national championship and an NBA title, accomplishing the feat with the University of Kansas in 1988 and the Detroit Pistons in 2004 respectively. Brown’s last run with a college program was when he was the head coach at Southern Methodist University (SMU) from 2012 to 2016.
Five years ago was also the last time Brown coached in the United States, as he spent 2018 coaching Auxilium Torino in Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A.
Brown Led the Sixers to Their Most Recent NBA Finals 20 Years Ago
Many fans thought this year’s Sixers squad would be the group to finally break through and make it back to the NBA Finals, but due to a lights out performance of Trae Young, some epic late-game collapses and the well-documented struggles of Ben Simmons, Philly was unable to even make the conference finals. Brown’s 2000-2001 76ers crew is still the last to make it past the second round of the playoffs.
Of course, he had some pretty good players on that team, notably league MVP Allen Iverson, as well as Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo. Brown’s run with the Sixers lasted from the 1997-1998 campaign through the 2002-2003 season and included five straight playoff appearances.
After a 56-26 regular season behind Iverson and Mutombo – who was acquired in the middle of the season – dispatched of the Indiana Pacers in four games in the opening round, and outlasted the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks in seven-game thrillers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and Eastern Conference Finals respectively. Despite having the league MVP on their roster, plus the Coach of the Year in Brown, Philly was no match for Kobe, Shaq and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, falling in five games.