March 20, 2014
ATLANTA (SMU) – SMU head men’s basketball coach Larry Brown has been tabbed one of five finalists for the 2014 Naismith Coach of the Year award, given by the Atlanta Sports Council. Brown won the award with Kansas in 1988, a team that would go on to win the national title.
Brown, who is in his second season on the Hilltop, and the Mustangs (24-9) have posted the top NCAA RPI turnaround from 2012-13 to 2013-14, improving their mark 160 spots from 213 a year ago to 53 in Monday’s (March 17) latest release.
SMU was 4-3 against ranked opponents in the regular season, and was ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since the 1984-85 season. The Mustangs were also ranked in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll for the first time in program history and sold out seven home games, the most since Moody Coliseum opened in 1956. The Mustangs are 16-1 in Moody Coliseum this year.
Notable victories for the Mustangs this season include a 76-55 win over then-No. 7/7 Cincinnati (Feb. 8), the program’s first over a team in the AP top-10 since 1986-87, and its first on-campus AP top-10 win since 1966-67. SMU’s win over then-No. 17/15 Connecticut (Jan. 4) in the Moody Coliseum re-opening was its first over a ranked opponent since the 2003-04 season.
Earlier this month, Brown was also named one of 10 finalists for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year award. Brown was also named one of three finalists for the Jewish Coaches Association National Coach of the Year award. In addition, the SMU second-year head coach was named the USBWA District VII Coach of the Year.
Top-seeded SMU defeated UC Irvine in the NIT First Round on Wednesday (68-54), and will host LSU in the NIT Second Round on Monday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN. Tickets are still available for the Mustangs’ 12th game in Moody Coliseum, and can be purchased on SMUMustangs.com.
Naismith National Men’s College Coach of the Year Finalists
· John Beilein (Michigan)
· Tony Bennett (Virginia)
· Larry Brown (SMU)
· Billy Donovan (Florida)
· Gregg Marshall (Wichita State)