SMU officially ends Jankovich's wait as Brown's successor
DALLAS (AP) The wait is over for Tim Jankovich to be SMU's head coach.
SMU formally named Jankovich as head coach Monday, three days after Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown abruptly resigned.
''I'm still sad and a little bit emotional about it, but at the same time, incredibly excited about the opportunity here for me and my staff,'' Jankovich said Monday night. ''That part is awfully exciting, and (I'm) feeling all those emotions that you expect.''
Jankovich had been associate coach and head-coach-in-waiting for the Mustangs since he came to SMU with Brown in 2012. Jankovich was head coach at Illinois State the five seasons before that, and previously head coach at North Texas.
''At the same time, the dynamics are different because I just worked alongside a guy for four years that throughout my coaching career I put at the very top of coaches of our time,'' he said. ''I've formed a very good relationship with him.''
Brown's initial five-year deal went through next season, but he resigned Friday after turning down an offer from SMU to extend his contract through 2020.
The Mustangs made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993 under Brown, and won at least 25 games each of the past three seasons. They were 25-5 last season, but banned from postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.
While the 75-year-old Brown had made occasional comments that he might leave, Jankovich said he honestly didn't think it would happen so soon.
''It was a little surprise to me. I don't want to say a great shock,'' Jankovich said. ''I guess when it was final, it was surprising to me.''
The 57-year-old Jankovich was 104-64 at Illinois State from 2007-12 after serving as an assistant coach for Bill Self, at Illinois (2002-03) and Kansas (2003-07). He was 53-57 as head coach at North Texas from 1993-97, and has also been an assistant at Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas and Kansas State.
''We're thankful for Coach Brown's efforts here at SMU to rebuild our men's basketball program and bring the magic back to Moody,'' SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. ''That said, I believe Coach Jankovich can continue to build upon that success and keep us on that upward trajectory. His experience at SMU has allowed him to build trust and relationships with our student-athletes as well as our campus and local communities, which will give him a head start as he takes over our program.''
While Nic Moore, Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert were seniors last season, eight players are returning. There are also three incoming freshmen and a transfer from Arkansas who will have to sit out this season.
When Brown was suspended for the first nine games last season because of NCAA sanctions, Jankovich filled in as head coach and the Mustangs won all of those games. Jankovich believes that stretch will help now, especially with the current players who had a chance to play with him in control for just more than a month.
''Not that I'm glad that that happened, but it is a little bit of a blessing because I think it just makes in their mind, there's a lot less doubt of what's to come,'' Jankovich said. ''So I think that actually helps the transition, gives them a much better idea.''
Jankovich has also told the players that he knows they care about Brown, just like he does, and that ''it's not something that you get over in five minutes. ... So we're talking about that. I don't want to ignore that like you just flipped a page and nothing happened.''