Tiger in a Lion’s Den is a fascinating look inside Louisiana basketball, by the man who has made it renowned nationwide. Dale Brown takes us from his early days at LSU, building a basketball team in a purely football state, through the SEC wins and Final Fours, to the recent 1993-94 season, showing us the battles and the victories as never before revealed.
Brown discovered his love of basketball early, and his first big break came when he was offered the job in Cajun Country and moved to Baton Rouge. It was an exciting and at times daunting job to build up the new program, travel around the state giving out purple and gold nets to anyone who’d take them, then return to mop the floors and clean the blackboards so that his largely ignored team could hold practice. He describes what it took to get his first big recruits to come to LSU when other schools were offering money under the table and other illegal inducements, and what happened when Pete Maravich gave his incredible talk to the team.
We see that amazing first season at LSU, where the team was predicted to win only two games, and wound up winning fourteen, going 9-9 in the SEC, fifth in the league, and where Dale Brown was named SEC Coach of the Year. And we see the excitement of playing against rivals such as Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas, as well as the key turning points in his twenty-two years at LSU, including the first win against Kentucky in 1978; the first SEC championship in 1979 and first SEC tournament coaching Shaquille O’Neal and watching him turn pro early; as well as the 1993-94 season and what Dale Brown learned in that difficult year. Brown brings us inside Louisiana basketball and Louisiana politics, showing what it takes to survive in this atmosphere where winning is everything.