If Larry Brown is going to join Penny Hardaway’s staff at Memphis, it reportedly won’t be as a full-time assistant.
The school has offered Brown a consultant job rather than the full-fledged gig he’d been eying with Hardaway and the Tigers, according to a report from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Brown’s resume is as impressive as it is troubling for any school considering bringing him aboard. He’s the only coach in history to win both an NCAA and NBA championship. He’s a 1,500-game winner and a Hall of Famer. He’s also run afoul of the NCAA at every head job he’s had and abruptly resigned at SMU amid a contract dispute.
His skill set and experience would no doubt be of immense value to Hardaway, who is taking the head job at his alma mater after coaching solely at the high school and grassroots level after his All-Star NBA career. A veteran voice on the sideline and in practice would seemingly be a necessity for the rookie coach, but given Brown’s NCAA compliance track record, it’s more than fair for Memphis to be wary bringing him aboard.
Hardaway has immense respect for Brown after their one year together with the New York Knicks, but he’s putting his new employer in a bit of a bind by trying to hire him – either as an assistant or a consultant. Allowing Brown to come on as a consultant seems like a compromise given Hardaway and Brown want him as one of the three assistants while Memphis’ administration would probably be just fine with Brown not being a part of the staff altogether.
The bottom line, though, is that Hardaway will probably be a better coach with Brown advising him. The question will be if Brown is willing to accept a job description that would limit his ability to coach on the floor.