Larry Brown happy to be back in Indiana

His familiarity with Bloomington is scant, but Larry Brown is no stranger to the state of Indiana.

Brown coached the Pacers to a 190-137 record from 1993-97, taking the NBA outfit to three playoff appearances in his four seasons, including the Eastern Conference finals in 1994 and 1995.

So Brown, a basketball hall of famer who’s now in his 40th season on the sideline and his third at Southern Methodist, was happy to be back in the Hoosier state on Thursday.

“When you are fortunate enough to be a coach in this state like I was and see the appreciation for this game that you love and are fortunate to be doing, it’s the best,” Brown said after Indiana’s 74-68 victory. “I remember when (IU coach Tom Crean) got the job and things weren’t going good, I marveled at the atmosphere. Mike Woodson is my best friend and we would talk about this all the time. I would always talk about Carolina and Kansas, and this is up there with the best places.”

Brown said his relationship with Crean goes back to the latter’s days at Marquette, where Brown would travel to watch practices on occasion.

Brown’s return to the state of Indiana came three days after former IU coach Mike Davis made his first trip to Assembly Hall since 2006 on Monday night. Brown said he took a moment Thursday to admire the banners that hang beyond the south baseline of the building, and asked reporters after the game whether legendary coach Bob Knight has his name stamped on any property inside the arena.

“I hope some day we can figure that out,” Brown said. “Am I allowed to say that?”