Danny Manning, Larry Brown face off as coaches for first time
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, January 06, 2013
1/06/13 at 7:17 AM
In 1983-88, Larry Brown coached the Kansas Jayhawk basketball team. During four of those seasons, the combination of Brown and All-American forward Danny Manning drove KU to two Final Four appearances.
For having upset Oklahoma in the 1988 national championship game, Brown and Manning are linked for life.
As a Jayhawk senior, Manning was the national player of the year. He finished his career as one of the top 10 scorers in college basketball history. Brown also coached Manning for 117 games in the NBA - with the Los Angeles Clippers during the early '90s - and their 30-year friendship has never wavered.
On Sunday, there will be another reunion of the 72-year-old Brown and the 46-year-old Manning.
This time - for the first time - they are matched as head coaches.
In a Conference USA opener at SMU's Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Manning's University of Tulsa team (8-6) faces Brown's Mustangs (10-5). The 7 p.m. contest is televised by Fox Sports Net.
"I dread this game," Brown said during a teleconference. "Danny has been such a big part of my life.
"It's going to be a special moment, seeing him over on the other bench, coaching, but ... if we lose, I don't take losses very well. And if we win, I'm not going to be happy about him being on the losing side."
Manning's outlook on TU vs. SMU: "I look forward to it because I learned so much from (Brown). I look forward to it (because) of the things he's meant to me in my life.
"That's the storyline for a lot of people - you're playing against your former coach. There will be a lot of hugs before the game, and we'll try to beat each other's brains in once the ball jumps up. And once the game is over, there will be a lot of hugs and love again."
In his first season as the head man of the injury-riddled Golden Hurricane, Manning hasn't had a full roster for any game. In his first season at SMU, Brown has a squad that appears to be a legitimate C-USA contender.
"Everywhere Coach Brown has gone, his teams have been successful and they've gotten there rather quick," Manning said.
Hurricane freshman guard James Woodard is somewhat aware of the coaches' history, but says he is more focused on the game itself.
"It's just an SMU game - our first conference game," Woodard said. "That's how we see it. That's a pretty good thing that (Manning and Brown) have, but we have to treat it like just another conference game."
Manning is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and played 15 NBA seasons after having been the No. 1 player selected, by the Clippers, in the 1988 draft.
Brown was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. Two years later, he coached the Detroit Pistons to the NBA title.
Manning began his high school career in North Carolina, leading Greensboro Page High School to the 1983 state title, and there was a strong expectation that he would play college basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels or N.C. State Wolfpack. But when Brown hired Manning's father, Ed, for an assistant's position at KU, the Manning family moved to Lawrence.
Brown had coached Ed Manning for two seasons in the American Basketball Association, but before Ed was hired by the Jayhawks, he was out of the basketball business. He had been driving a truck.
Danny Manning attended Lawrence High School and, ultimately, signed with Kansas. After his NBA career ended, he spent nine years on Bill Self's Kansas staff before taking the Tulsa job nine months ago.
During the 1985-86 season at Kansas - Manning's sophomore season, during which the Jayhawks were 35-4 and a Final Four team - Self was a graduate assistant for Brown.
"When we (defeated the Sooners) in '88, as soon as the game was over, I saw Danny grab the ball and clutch with one arm and hold one fist up," Brown said. "I looked for his dad. I just thought, 'Wow. How proud Ed must be.' It was maybe one of the greatest feelings I've ever had in my life.
"Winning a national championship is something that is truly remarkable, but (in Manning) we had the best player and maybe the best example of how the game should be played. Watching Danny, and having the opportunity to coach, has to be a highlight of my life."
Manning was asked whether he ever wonders how his life might have been different if he had played for one of the Carolina teams instead of in the Big Eight for the Jayhawks.
"My life is great, man," he replied. "I graduated (from Kansas), I met my wife and we won a championship. That's perfect."
Different paths, same destination
Nearly 25 years after they led Kansas to the 1988 national title, Larry Brown and Danny Manning are first-year coaches in Conference USA - Brown at SMU, Manning at Tulsa. On Sunday night, their teams are matched in a league opener at Dallas. After winning the 1988 national championship, Brown became the San Antonio Spurs' coach while Manning was the top pick overall in the NBA draft. A look at their career paths since 1988:
1988-92: San Antonio Spurs head coach.
1992-93: Los Angeles Clippers head coach. During his 1 1/2 seasons with the Clippers, Brown coached Manning. With Brown in 1992-93, Manning averaged 22.8 points, had a 43-point performance against Chicago and was a member of the NBA All-Star team.
1993-97: Indiana Pacers head coach.
1997-2003: Philadelphia 76ers head coach. In 2001, Brown and guard Allen Iverson led the Sixers to the NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers prevailed in five games.
2003-05: Detroit Pistons head coach. The 2003-04 Pistons were NBA champions, making Brown the only coach in basketball history to capture a college national title and an NBA title.
2005-06: New York Knicks head coach.
2008-10: Charlotte Bobcats head coach.
April 19, 2012: Returning to college basketball for the first time since 1988, Brown is hired as the new head coach at SMU.
1988-94: Los Angeles Clippers. During the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, Manning was an NBA All-Star. In 1993-94, he had a career-best scoring average of 23.7.
1994: Atlanta Hawks. On March 14, 1994, the Hawks traded aging superstar Dominique Wilkins and a first-round pick for Manning. After playing only 26 games for the Hawks, Manning signed with Phoenix.
1994-99: Phoenix Suns.
1999-2000: During his one season in Milwaukee, Manning sustained the second major knee injury of his career.
2000-01: Utah Jazz.
2001-02: Dallas Mavericks.
2003: Detroit Pistons. Manning was signed by the Pistons in February 2003, but announced his retirement after 13 games.
2003-06: University of Kansas director of student-athlete development and team manager.
2006-12: Kansas assistant coach.
March 29, 2012: The University of Tulsa hires Manning to be its head basketball coach.
TU up next
At SMU 7 p.m. Sunday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: Manning, Brown share bond
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Danny Manning served as an assistant coach at Kansas from 2006 to 2012. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World