Originally created 03/01/97

Emotional finale due for LSU coach Brown

BATON ROUGE, La. - The building is named for Pete Maravich, but it was built, filled and paid for by Dale Brown.

Today, 25 years after he took over the stepchild sport at a football school and built it into a powerhouse, Brown will coach his final game in the Maravich Assembly Center.

"It's going to an extremely emotional event," athletic director Joe Dean said. "I love the man, and a lot of other people love him too."

Arkansas is the opponent, but with LSU on a nine-game losing streak and with a 9-19 record, the game will be just a sidelight. The main event will be the pregame, halftime and post-game ceremonies honoring Brown.

The All-Dale Brown Team will be named; Brown's accomplishments will be recognized, and homage will be paid by many, including the famous and non-famous players who played for Brown.

Shaquille O'Neal has said he'll be there, so will members of the 1981 Final Four team, as well as the first player Brown recruited.

"When I see the players there my heart is really going to jump," Brown said. "That's why I stayed in it."

Brown, 61, announced his retirement two days before the Tigers began their Southeastern Conference schedule, saying greed and growing professionalism were ruining the game.

Under Brown, LSU has gone to the NCAA tournament 13 times, the Final Four twice, and won four SEC championships.

At schools where Brown said he was regularly pelted with everything from ice to heated coins, he received huge ovations this year.

Every SEC school presented Brown with gifts, which will be displayed in the LSU Hall of Fame. Mississippi State gave Brown a plaque and a cowbell; Arkansas, a Razorback Hoghat; Auburn, a photo album with a picture from every LSU-Auburn game. Kentucky gave him a coat; Mississippi, a rocking chair.

"It's been a wonderful time even though we've had a lot of adversity and certainly don't have the record I would have hoped for," Brown said. "I'm ready to go on to other things. I won't have withdrawal pains or second guess my decision, but it has been a great run."


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