After apologizing for his previous uncomplimentary remarks about the city, new San Antonio Spurs coach Larry Brown told fans the team's success would depend on their energy.
More than 500 fans turned out at a mall on Tuesday for Brown's first public appearance, an autograph session.Brown, 47, who left Kansas for the $3.5-million, five-year contract with the Spurs, had coached teams that played against the Spurs in the American Basketball Association in the mid-1970s.
He told the fans they would need to as get fired up as they were then.
"I can't promise you how well we'll do, but I can promise you we will be a team that will try hard every night and give you the kind of effort that you deserve," Brown said.
Brown replaces Bob Weiss, who was fired after two seasons during which he compiled a 59-105 record.
Brown, who coached the ABA team in Carolina and Denver, had angered Spurs fans then by saying the only thing good in San Antonio was the guacamole, but he made amends Tuesday.
"I apologize about the things I said about San Antonio a long time ago. I really didn't mean it," Brown said. "I will eat the guacamole salad. To be honest I really kind of like it. I like to eat it more than I like to wear it on my shirt."
Brown, who led Kansas to the NCAA championship in April, got resounding applause after being introduced by Mayor Henry Cisneros.
The mayor warmed up the crowd, saying San Antonio would benefit from the acquisition of 7-foot-1 center David Robinson, who has signed a $26-million, eight-year contract to play with the Spurs after finishing his two-year commitment with the Navy.
Cisneros also said that the Spurs and the city would prosper by B.J. "Red" McCombs' $47-million purchase of the team last month.
The mayor told the crowd it would have to pack the rafters to give Brown the support he wants.
"I think we got a very rare human being who has been a winner everywhere he has gone," Cisneros said. "You combine a winning coach with a winner like Red McCombs and the winning potential that is the San Antonio Spurs, the players, and the winner that is San Antonio and we just can't be whipped."
McCombs, a longtime San Antonio businessman and former sole owner of the Denver Nuggets, said he never thought Brown would agree to come to San Antonio.
"I knew he was the best coach in the United States and I knew we were going to make every shot at it, but I never really dreamed that he would be here," McCombs said. "I can't tell you how much this means for this program and this city."