In 1972, Brown immediately turned around an LSU team that finished 10-16 into a 14-10 team. His efforts earned him Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year honors. Brown elevated the program to new heights from 1979 - 1981. The team reached the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, and Final Four in consecutive years. Brown earned National Coach of the Year in 1981. His finest display of coaching occurred during the 1986 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers barely made the field as an 11 seed. The offense sputtered all year so he enlisted a new weapon. Brown's "freak defense" held opponents Memphis State, Georgia Tech, and #1 seed Kentucky in check all the way to the Final Four.