PHILADELPHIA -- Larry Brown, who has made a career of rehabilitating basketball programs on the road to nowhere, has accepted an offer to become head coach of the 76ers and will be officially introduced today.
Brown, 56, who was coach of the Indiana Pacers until his resignation on Wednesday, agreed to a contract believed to be worth about $25 million over five years, according to a source close to the negotiations.
More important for Brown and the 76ers, who went 22-60 last season and have averaged 57 losses during the past six seasons, is that Brown will have total control of personnel decisions.
He will be the Sixers' sixth coach in seven years.
Brown also had been courted by the Boston Celtics regarding their coaching vacancy.
As talks between Brown and Croce heated up, Philadelphia's pursuit of Kentucky coach Rick Pitino was cast aside. Croce had talked about doing whatever it took to get Pitino on the Sixers' bench next season, but his discussions with Brown made him forget all that.
Neither Brown nor Croce was available for comment last night. But at the time of his firing of Davis and Greenberg, Croce said, "I've learned that experience is worth its weight in gold."
Brown's teams are known to play defense, hustle and be unselfish, three areas where the Sixers fell short during the past season.
Brown comes in having to answer a lot of questions about the 76ers' roster. Point guard Allen Iverson is coming off a Rookie of the Year season during which he was criticized for his commitment to team play, and shooting guard Jerry Stackhouse, in his second year with the team, was inconsistent.
"So many young players are so spoiled," Brown said last week. "I'm not afraid to discipline. But what I want to do is coach. "
Brown has won 1,030 games during a 25-year career in college and the American Basketball Association as well as the NBA. He has had only two losing seasons in that time, including a 39-43 mark last season with the Pacers.
Pub Date: 5/05/97