DALLAS - Larry Brown is returning to college to get back into coaching.

The 71-year-old Hall of Fame coach, who led the 76ers from 1997 to 2003, was hired Thursday at Southern Methodist University. It is his first college job in nearly a quarter century, and comes with a struggling program that is headed to the Big East after next season.

Brown, the only coach to win both an NBA championship and NCAA title, hasn't coached since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats in December 2010 after the NBA's team's 9-19 start. His contract there was to run through the end of the current season.

He took the 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2001, where his team fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

SMU hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since 1988, the year Brown led Kansas to the national championship in his last season as a college coach.

"It's not like I haven't been involved," Brown told the AP in a phone interview from his home in Philadelphia. "I live in Villanova, I've been to Kentucky's practices the last two years, Kansas practices, Maryland's practices, and Villanova. I've probably seen them practice 50 times a year."

"You're coaching college kids in the NBA, so I've found out kids want to be taught, they want to be coached, they want to get better," he said.

The Mustangs fired Matt Doherty last month after six seasons.

Details of Brown's deal, including the length of the contract, weren't released by the private school. Brown said he wasn't ready to discuss who his assistant coaches would be.

Brown has held a record nine NBA jobs. He was 1,098-904 (.548 winning percentage) with Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, the Sixers, Detroit, the Knicks, and Charlotte. He took all of those teams but New York to the playoffs. Add in his four seasons coaching in the ABA, and his 1,327 victories put him nine shy of passing Don Nelson for the most all-time wins.